How Google is Amplifying Alternative Youth Culture – THISDAY Newspapers

Posted: July 7, 2022 at 9:22 am

The technology company Google is keen on building a home for African creators who are promoting the Alternative movement through its platforms such as YouTube. It demonstrated this in a recent two-day programme in Nairobi, Kenya, for 25 creators from different parts of the continent, Isioma Usiade witnessed the event

The Alternative Movement, colloquially known as the Alt Movement, is getting the spotlight from the technology company Google. Recently, the company hosted a two-day Residency Programmein Nairobi, Kenya for creators who identify as Alternative and Non-mainstream.

Similar to a Bootcamp, the two-day program was aimed at upskilling and celebrating 25 young creatives whose idea of being misfits or nonconformists is not easily acceptable in mainstream media. The movement champions unconventional self-expression in all aspects of life but mainly through music, fashion and visual arts.

The creatives were a mixed bag. They were alternative artists, and creative and cultural arts journalists from Nigeria, South Africa, Accra, Botswana, Kenya and other parts of the continent.

The Alt Community is an emerging culture that is uniquely African and is increasing in popularity among the Gen Z demographic. Alt, short for Alternative, originated as an avenue for unconventional self-expression that transcends the traditional. At the centre of the Alt movement, is the desire to remain sincere to oneself regardless of existing traditions or cultural restrictions.

The Alt movement arguably has its origin in Nigeria, with musical Artists like Teezee, BOJ, Tems, Odunsi and Lady Donli, driving the movement but the sub-culture is visible among young Africans across the continent. Sichangi, from Kenya and Amaarae from Ghana, are among the musical artists from other parts of Africa who are propagating Alt sounds. Beyond music, Alt has grown as a lifestyle and its influence is also visible in fashion and the visual arts. Mowalola and Tse are some of the creative influencers that are driving the Alt movement in fashion and photography respectively.

There is also a growing number of creative entrepreneurs in the Alt community. These young individuals are running their own businesses and thriving within Africas creative ecosystem. By optimising the internet, they are carving their distinctive identity and propagating the growth of the Alt community in Africa.

Historically, alternative youth culture is rarely recognised in mainstream media, therefore creators have turned to YouTube to connect with their audiences because there are no barriers to entry.

Speaking during the Residency, Sharon Machira, Communication and Public Affairs Manager for Google Kenya said, Its exciting to see creators that identify as non-mainstream find community on our platform. This comes just a few days after we announced a call for applications for the YouTube Black Voices Fund for 2023 aimed at elevating marginalised voices.

The residency aims toamplify the impact of the Alt movement in Africa and the world. We also want to showcase how products like YouTube and YouTube Shorts and platforms like Google Arts and Culture can help drive the culture forward, added Machira.

Recent Google Search trends from across Africa show an increase in `Alt related searches from 2020, with questions like What is alt?, Who is an alt? and How to dress alt?, being the most searched alt related questions.

Google, through the Alt Residency, is spotlighting and contributing to Africas cultural zeitgeist by exposing Alt creatives and expressionists to skills that can be harnessed through the lens of YouTube, YouTubeShorts, Search and Google Arts and Culture, and enable creatives to scale up in their businesses and career.

The Residency ran from Tuesday, June 28 to Thursday, June 30, 2022, and helped them learn how to better connect with their audiences and move the culture forward. They will be equipped with entrepreneurial skills on how they can enhance the visibility of their brands.

Google also invited Tshepo the Jeans maker for an interactive fireside career talk with the young creative entrepreneurs on how to further build and monetise their brands.

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How Google is Amplifying Alternative Youth Culture - THISDAY Newspapers

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