In light of Black Music Month, we’re spotlighting entertainment industry pioneers who are making waves. The first is Clark University alumnus Rachel Jackson, who now sits on The YouTube Music Artist Partnerships team.
Jackson’s journey began at an early age when he danced into the performing arts as a ballerina. The Atlanta native later developed a greater appreciation for music and continued to thrive while living in the Black Mecca. Jackson immersed herself in her entertainment landscape, taking her first steps working as an intern at Ludacris’ Disturbing The Peace Records. Her resume only evolved after working as an A&R Director at Roc Nation Label before landing her current role as Artist Relations Manager on YouTube Music’s Artist Partnerships team.
Jackson and his team were behind the first buyable film
Jackson is proud of her work alongside the team, which includes a hybrid TV and web campaign with Saweetie and Google’s #BlackOwnedFriday campaign featuring T-Pain joined by Normani. As AfroTech told you before, the music project featured 50 black-owned brands and over 100 products that allowed users to buy and connect with businesses with the click of a button.
“The Black Friday campaign was the first shoppable music video and film ever, so we were able to imagine and pave the way for our shopping capabilities on the platform and frankly bring it to black creatives, black artists and black-owned businesses,” Jackson told AfroTech in an exclusive interview.
Jackson is the head of the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund
While serving under his current title, Jackson ensures that equitable resources are distributed to black communities and artists at various stages of their careers. Jackson’s efforts are aligned with the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund, a $100 million global commitment to empower and advance black creators and artists on the platform, according to information provided to AfroTech. Additionally, the fund is used to acquire and produce new YouTube Originals programs. The fund has already supported nearly 300 creators, artists, songwriters and producers.
Jackson currently leads the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund as the Music Community Pillar Manager for YouTube Music, which also aims to pave the way for young people to find their place in the industry.
“We are able to connect with young people who want to explore the intersection between technology, entertainment and music and from there, create programs that show them other opportunities not just for growth on the platform. form, but also their career,” Jackson told AfroTech.
Foundry-supported unsigned and independent artists, alumni cohort includes Tems
As mentioned above, YouTube Music’s Artist Partnerships team caters to artists of all skill levels. Through Foundry – a global artist development program – unsigned and independent artists have the opportunity to receive a monetary grant, placing them in a cohort with access to partner managers and best practices to elevate their music career. Foundry has helped over 150 artists in 15 countries, including household names such as Gunna, Tems, Dua Lipa and Rosalía.
“At YouTube and YouTube Music, we want to be the music industry’s number one revenue driver and we’re well on our way to being notarized for that. We’re artist-driven and we provide high-level support to all of our artists and managers at every stage of their journey as they seek to succeed with us,” Jackson said.