Snapchat is launching a black creator accelerator that’ll provide 25 emerging black creators with a $10,000 monthly stipend to help turn their social media endeavors into full-fledged careers, the platform announced at VidCon.
The initiative—which will also offer selected participants an educational curriculum and tailored workshops courtesy of Google Pixel, UNCMMN and Westbrook Media—is an expansion of Snapchat’s current 523 content accelerator program. First launched in December 2021, 523 was designed to support and spotlight small, minority-owned content companies and creatives with the goal of helping them build their businesses and audiences through the distribution of content on the app’s Discover feed.
To be considered for the new program, Snapchat says creators must apply via its form and be an emerging creator who is over 18, self-identifies as black, wishes to become a professional influencer and has a history of abiding by community guidelines on Snapchat.
Applications will be evaluated by Snap based on the following criteria to “establish an equitable selection process”: the creator must have a unique and consistent voice; create positive content that aligns with Snap’s values of empathy, kindness and creativity; and have a clear vision for future career goals.
Though Snap has amplified black voices on the app in recent years through a virtual art gallery in honor of Black History Month and creator shows featuring popular black creators like Rickey Thompson and Kevin Hart, it’s late to the game as far as its financial pledge to black creators. In 2018, TikTok launched a three-month black creatives program in partnership with Charles D. King’s Macro media company with an inaugural class of 100. In November 2021, TikTok and Macro announced they were awarding 10 black creators $50,000 grants to help cover costs of equipment, staffing and resources as they pursue a larger project.
Initiatives by Facebook and YouTube were launched even earlier. In October 2020, YouTube introduced its $100 million black voices fund, which just announced its class of 2023, and a few months later Facebook Gaming launched a $10 million program for black creators who livestream games.
That’s not to say creators haven’t had a bone to pick with TikTok. The app—whose global ad revenue is set to surpass Twitter and Snapchat combined this year—came under fire following the murder of George Floyd for reportedly suppressing content related to Black Lives Matter. In addition, some black creators went on a virtual strike, refraining from posting dances to Megan Thee Stallion’s then-new song to protest the lack of proper credit black creators receive for starting trends and dances that go viral on the app.
Snapchat has been faulted many times too. In July 2020, it launched an investigation into accusations of racism and sexism within the company. And in May, a number of black creators said that the platform removed their verification status for actions that white influencers have purportedly gone unpunished for, causing them to lose income and career opportunities.