In June 2021, I haphazardly applied to be a part of YouTube Black Class of 2022, not realizing that my life was about to change. Toks Ayinla, someone I met via Clubhouse earlier that year, sent me a link to apply to the program. I reviewed the application, looked at the creators who were a part of the class of 2021 and immediately thought hmmmm…I don’t think this is for me. You may be thinking “…Reni…this is a program that is literally for Black YouTubers. How is it not for you?”.
Well, I saw that the people from the previous year had hundreds of thousands of subscribers and then there was ‘lil old me with about 7,000 subscribers, so I counted myself out. Not because I didn’t think my channel was good or anything, I just thought they would only accept larger YouTubers. After a few days, God told me to apply, so I obeyed and did. That is how this journey begins.
If you’re not caught up, I was burnt out from work and life, so in October decided to quit my safe, full time job to pursue YouTube. I didn’t know what was in store for me, but I figured I could always go back to the corporate world if it didn’t work out. On October 3rd 2021, I announced to the world that I quit. An hour and a half later (I shit you not), I received an email that I was part of YouTube Black 2022. Mind-blown is not the word to describe how I felt. Here’s the video if you want to learn more about what went into my decision to quit:
Let’s fast forward to January 2022. It is announced that I am a part of YouTube Black Class of 2022. I am one of 5 creators in all of Canada. I am the smallest North American YouTuber in the program. Let’s just say I was shook. If you’re wondering what this program is, it is an accelerator to amplify Black creators’ voices. YouTube provides us with seed funding to grow our channel, I am assigned a dedicated partner manager, and we attend monthly workshops that teach us how to run a successful YouTube channel.
This was my reaction when I got into the program:
It has been 6 months of the program and I without a doubt recommend every single Black creator to apply. Here are three things I’ve gotten from the program thus far:
In real life I don’t really know any creators or experts who are doing what I do. YouTube Black provided me with a dedicated partner manager, Anna. She is my go-to at YouTube and gives me insight into my channel. Anna was able to break down how my channel has been doing over the past 2 years, how I can improve and what I should keep doing. The insights from her are invaluable. Since she has worked with hundreds of creators, she knows what she is talking about.
Because of YouTube Black, my name has been in the press like never before. There have been stories written about me with the most incredible headlines – I am shocked every single day. Here are some of my favourite articles:
Canadian YouTuber Reni Odetoyinbo is a financial class of her own
Alumna Selected for #YouTubeBlack Creator Class of 2022
The reality of entrepreneurship : between freedom and wage gap
Meet the 30X30: Reni Odetoyinbo is Changing the Discourse Around Personal Finance
The press has led to more brand partnerships and more speaking gigs for me.
We all know that networking is my bag. YouTube Black has provided me with the opportunity to network with creators from across the world. I will say that I have mostly stuck to those in the US and Canada, but it has been amazing to learn from and collaborate with other creators that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Here is a collaboration I did with Nora, a creator who is also in the program.
People always ask me, do I suggest applying for YouTube Black? The answer is hell yes. The opportunities are endless. The class of 2023 applications are open from now ’til July 10th. Make sure you apply! Message me or comment on this post if you have any questions.