George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked action against police brutality around the world, from protest to a flood of donations for bail funds and Black Lives Matter to renewed calls for legislation that would reform police departments. If you aren’t able to donate money but still want to financially support the movement, YouTubers are creating monetized videos that allow you to support BLM just by streaming with your ad blocker off.
Zoe Amira, a beauty YouTuber currently with about 69,000 followers, is credited with creating the first such video, an hour-long compilation of art by black creators, such as spoken word poetry and songs, interspersed with ads, which generate revenue through Adsense. Amira uploaded the video, called “how to financially help BLM with NO MONEY/leaving your house (invest in the future for FREE),” on May 30, and as of June 4, it had more than 7.5 million views.
“This video and the series that will soon follow are to serve as a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter and Black Lives Matter associated protestor bail funds,” text at the beginning of the video reads. Amira wrote that 100% of the ad revenue will be donated to one of a long list of organizations, including Brooklyn Bail Fund, Minnesota Freedom Fund, BlackLivesMatter.com, Reclaim the Block, and the ACLU, distributed “depending on need at the time of the donation.”
In order to make sure your views generate a donation, she advised watchers to temporarily disable any browser ad blockers, to not skip the ads, and, if you’re repeating the video, to do so from the playlist or by clicking away and clicking the video again. The video can also be found by searching “Views for a vision watch to donate.” Late Wednesday, Amira provided an update via Twitter, sharing that the video has already racked up an estimated revenue of $21,539, according to a screenshot of YouTube’s video analytics.
Other YouTubers have since followed suit, including Cindy Marshall, with a 45-minute video with no audio, so it can be streamed in the background; omuriceu, whose video has a donation tracker on the side (since going up June 1, it had raised more than $15,000); Stephanie Soo, who has 2.2 million subscribers and pledged the ad revenue from a recent video about In-N-Out as well (along with “the next few videos,” she wrote in the description); and more.
Many teenagers have shared on Twitter or via TikTok that though they want to go to these protests against police brutality, their parents aren’t letting them (whether because they’re too young or because they oppose the movement). Watching YouTube videos without skipping ads is a way they can still be involved. YouTubers have tried this in the past only to have YouTube demonetize the videos, such as when Casey Neistat made a video to support the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, CNN reports.
In Neistat’s case, YouTube responded that it was policy not to run ads on videos about tragedies. Since her video doesn’t explicitly mention Floyd’s death, instead highlighting black artists and their work, Amira told CNN she’s not worried it will be demonetized. And even if it is, she’ll just upload another.