Lainey Wilson, Chuck D, Many More Join YouTube’s Partnership With U.S. State Department to Promote Peace

Lainey Wilson and Chuck D joined U.S. Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken and YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen in Washington D.C. to unveil the streaming platform’s partnership with with the State Department in an effort to promote peace.

The event was accompanied by video statements from the effort’s inaugural group of ambassadors: Chuck and Wilson with Herbie Hancock, Jelly Roll, Kane Brown, Teddy Swims, Justin Tranter, Armani White, Breland, Denyce Graves and Grace Bowers.

More from Variety

Cohen referenced the legacy of the 1950s-era Jazz Ambassadors program, whereby the U.S. government sent artists like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughn overseas “to bridge cultural gaps and cultivate goodwill across the globe,” and hopes this new program will continue that legacy. The collaboration is part of the State Department’s Global Music Diplomacy Initiative, a worldwide effort to elevate music as a diplomatic platform to promote peace and democracy, and he says YouTube is “uniquely positioned to help amplify these voices.” (See Cohen’s full blog post here.)

Chuck D said, “Bridging cultural divides and inspiring positive change has been part of my life’s work and it is a responsibility I don’t take lightly. Being a global music ambassador is an opportunity to use my voice and music to inspire everyone. New generations of human beings from many places leading, activating and uniting making a better world through Music which is the universal language.”

Wilson added, “I am so honored to participate in this program as a U.S. Global Music Ambassador for the launch of the Global Music Diplomacy Partnership. The power of art and storytelling is incredibly important and I’m grateful to have opportunities to tour and connect with people over songs and music around the world.”

In addition to the new U.S. Global Music Ambassadors, this partnership will focus on several key areas:

•    Micro-Grants for Social Impact: We will make investments to support U.S. exchange alumni internationally who are using music to drive positive change in their communities, expanding access to education, economic opportunity, and social inclusion.

•    English Language Learning Through Music: We will assist State Department efforts to leverage music programming as an English language learning tool, opening doors to new opportunities for learners worldwide.

•    Supporting the Creative Economy: We will support opportunity and equity in the creative economy through in-country engagements with audiences and aspiring creators, beginning in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, and India

•    Leveraging Global Events: We will utilize major international gatherings  to inspire action around the unifying power of music.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.