YouTube has ordered five new original projects as part of its Black Voices Fund. “Our upcoming projects highlight important stories and raise impactful voices to not only educate and entertain our audiences, but to also inspire meaningful change,” Nadine Zylstra, Global Head of YouTube Originals told Deadline.
Recipe for Change: Amplifying Black Women featuring Mary J. Blige, Saweetie, and Tabitha Brown are just a few of the WOMEN who will come together to talk about the ‘Strong Black Woman’ trope. Yes, for centuries it has been common for Black women to be characterized as strong, confident and stoic. Let that settle for a moment. Be Still … Think … Are these archetypes doing more harm than good? With Recipe for Change some of America’s most powerful women of color will amplify their voices on this topic, coming together around the dinner table to celebrate the stories, traditions, identities and experiences of Black Women.
A brief teaser from the series, captures Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms addressing the ‘Strong Black Woman’ trope during a roundtable discussion with notable figures across pop culture, media and entertainment, including Saweetie, Elaine Welteroth and Kelly Rowland.
“My first reaction [to the trope] is pressure. There is such an enormous amount of pressure for us to be strong that we don’t get the luxury of being weak, of being fragile, or being vulnerable,” Bottoms said.
A second clip shows Mary J. Blige and The Real’s Loni Love sharing their thoughts about the controversial phrase.
“You know the word strong. What does that mean?” asks the R&B hitmaker, before the scene cuts to Love:
“We are just like every other woman, but when you use that term, ‘Strong Black Woman’, every black woman they see ‘you know, you strong and you can solve all the problems’… Stop it! Treat us all as individuals. That’s what we’re trying to fight for.” – Love
The original series will feature many familiar celebrity faces, activists, and creators as they come together for a chef-prepared meal to share their lived experiences and discuss important topics like code-switching, colorism, and mental health. Renee Montgomery, Danielle Young, Angelica Ross, and Chloe Bailey are also among the list of powerful female stars who will appear during the special.
These women, like most that will be watching, have experienced firsthand how the ‘Strong Black Woman’ stereotype can have a negative impact. In 2021, Bottoms announced that she wouldn’t be running for re-election after she was slammed with an onslaught of criticism for how she handled the heated protests that sparked in Atlanta following the death of George Floyd. The good that she had done, the hard work, dedication and commitment to serving the people of the city of Atlanta and the change she brought about went overlooked in the court of public opinion. By grace, she like the other Women of Color that will be a part of the series, is still standing, thriving and reaching back to educate those that need understanding.
Under the Black Voices Fund, YouTube has also ordered Retro Tech: Future Tech with Marques Brownlee (w/t), which will explore the technology of the future and its impact on underrepresented communities, A New Green Book special featuring Terrell Grice, The Mandela Project, a series celebrating the legacy of Nelson Mandela, and Spectrum Global: Being Black In…, which reimagines a popular Jubilee video series and explores Blackness across the globe.