In the midst of a national reckoning with racism and injustice, Juneteenth had a particular significance in 2020. Though celebrated by many Black Americans, Juneteenth is not a nationally recognized holiday and is not taught in many schools. Recognizing this opportunity, YouTube intended to harness the power of its platform to elevate Black voices and stories, to combat the spread of racism, educate users, and inspire action for furthering the racial justice movement. YouTube’s goal was not simply to show one day of solidarity but to set a new standard for how we support marginalized communities on social media more broadly. By recognizing this moment, those who already celebrate could feel seen, and those who were unfamiliar could be educated about an important piece of American history.
Collaborating with XX Artists, YouTube set forth to execute a strategy focused on original social content leveraging YouTube creators and amplification of topic education through Black artist partnerships.
XX partnered with Black multi-disciplinary designer, Laci Jordan, to create interactive GIFs of key educational moments of Juneteenth, such as the signing of the Emancipation, delivery of news by Gordon Granger, slaves in Texas receiving the delayed news, in a visually consumable narrative. To increase the GIFs searchability, keywords circulated around Juneteenth, YouTube, and evergreen Black Lives Matter topics. The Giphy story was featured on the homepage under Juneteenth education and celebration content organically.
Using Instagram Stories, XX leveraged these Juneteenth GIFs as a visual backdrop for the Story, layering interactive educational questions, and quizzes on these visuals, utilizing the native Instagram products.
Ensuring levity within this content strategy, XX engaged an endemic Black cooking creator, Darius Williams (@dariuscooks) to create an evergreen Juneteenth celebration recipe, roasted green bean salad with white potatoes, for In-Feed Instagram content. This was rooted in his personal perspective of the holiday (his family’s recipes) and his specific YouTube content creative format (cooking).
Organic GIPHY homepage curation of YouTube’s Giphy Story about Juneteenth. Thousands used the Juneteenth GIFs created across social media. Millions of impressions and thousands of engagements were derived from the social strategy. Net sentiment was majority positive. Further detailed information included under confidential information.
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