YouTube UK has launched ‘The Rise’, a first-of-its kind launch and celebration of the voices who are keeping Britain on the cutting edge of culture and creativity around the world.
‘The Rise’ sees 10 of YouTube’s most successful pioneers of the platform name 10 of the UK’s most promising rising star talents, shining a light on the breadth of British talent across cultural touch points like music, fitness, science, sport, parenting and more.
The line-up includes nation’s PE teacher Joe Wicks MBE and rising star Gabriel Sey on fitness and family, Yammy and SJ Strum on parenting, GRM Daily and Meekz Manny on Black British music, and Colin Furze and Kids Invent Stuff on science and engineering, ‘
According to ComScore, YouTube is used by over 96% of online adults in the UK each month, with the average online adult watching 46 minutes of YouTube per day. This unprecedented increase in viewership firmly puts YouTube creators in the driving seat of today’s creative industry. Today, ‘The Rise’ sees 10 of YouTube’s most successful pioneers of the platform name 10 of the UK’s most promising rising star talents. A true celebration and launch of creative Britain, this collection of diverse voices represent the sheer breadth of British talent on YouTube across cultural touch points like music, science, sport, parenting, fitness and more.
See below for a snapshot of the lineup for ‘The Rise’
- HEALTH, FITNESS & FAMILY: The nation’s PE teacher Joe Wicks MBE, whose lockdown daily family fitness routines have made him a national treasure while also earning him an MBE, has named Gabriel Sey, aka “The Active Black Dad”, as a rising star. He believes that Gabriel’s commitment to health, fitness and sharing real insights on raising kids is an inspiring look at British family life.
- COMEDY AND MUSIC: KSI, British cultural icon and true YouTube pioneer with astounding 22M subscribers on the platform, has chosen to spotlight emerging viral comedian and entertainer Yung Filly. Both endemic creators to YouTube, their work shows the crossover potential between areas of creative passion, moving seamlessly between entertainment, comedy and music.
- LGBTQA+ PRIDE & AUTHENTICITY: Over the last decade, Daniel Howell has earned over 1B views with his genius comedic and deeply authentic videos. Fearlessly sharing his experiences with depression and coming out, Dan has named Jessica Kellgren-Fozard of Jessica Out Of The Closet as a rising star. Rapidly making a name for herself as one of the UK’s most honest and fresh entertainers, Jessica brings a love of vintage fashion, an honest take on life as a lesbian, and a commitment to raising awareness for disabilities to the world.
- DANCE: Globally-renowned dancer Sherrie Silver was discovered on YouTube, going on to create the groundbreaking Afrobeats choreography in Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’. Proof of the platform’s potential to serve as a launchpad for new stars, Sherrie is naming Afro-dance King A-Star, whose song ‘Kupe Dance’ sparked a global viral challenge, as a must-watch.
- SCIENCE & LEARNING: Colin Furze, YouTube’s resident mad scientist from Lincolnshire, has long been at the forefront of some of Britain’s most exciting inventions. He believes Ruth Amos and Shawn Brown, the creators behind Kids Invent Stuff, are going to transform the science and learning world for British scientists by helping bring kids’ imaginations to life through feats of wild engineering.
- MUSLIM LIFE & STYLE: Famed pioneer of ‘modest fashion’, Dina Tokio has always embraced her Muslim heritage and been honest about challenges of prejudice she’s faced. An inspiring example of being true to yourself, Dina has named Dr Amina Yonis, who gained her PhD at just 25, as a rising star and someone she sees as a future icon for Muslim women in the UK.
- BLACK BRITISH MUSIC: Posty, the hugely influential Black British entrepreneur and founder of the star-making channel GRM Daily, has said emerging British rapper Meekz Manny is a rising star on the path to change the music scene for future generations of artists.
- FOOTBALL FANDOM: A true pioneer of the football fan channel movement in the UK, Robbie Lyle founded AFTV with the ultimate goal of giving fans a voice. Now, with nearly 1B views, Robbie has named Tottenham superfan Expressions Oozing as a rising star whose infectious comedy and insightful antics make him a game changer for the football fanworld.
- BRITISH COMMUNITY: When Jay Flynn MBE closed his pub during early lockdown this year, he turned to YouTube and accidently created the world’s largest virtual pub quiz, raising nearly £800k for charity and earning himself an MBE in the process. To celebrate a shared spirit of community and charity, Jay has named Jack Edwards, the founder of The StudyTube Project, an educational YouTube collective of creators who came together to keep learning alive in lockdown, as a model for giving back.
- MUM POWER: Yasmin Uddin, a young mum from Leeds who turned her gaming channel Yammy into a full-time career, has named mum life and family vlogger SJ Strum as a rising star. Yammy believes SJ is an inspiration for other mums who are looking to express themselves and share their family lives safely and joyfully on the platform.
As an open platform with more than 500 hours of content uploaded every minute, YouTube’s accessibility has provided a level playing field for creatives looking to share their passions with the world. As demonstrated by ‘The Rise’ collective of creators, YouTube ensures that British creative talent of all backgrounds from right across the country can find a stage, connect with fans, gain recognition and build a business on the platform. In fact, according to 2020 research by Oxford Economics, last year, YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported 30K Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs in the UK, and the total contribution of YouTube’s creative ecosystem to the UK’s GDP was £1.4bn.
Ben McOwen Wilson, Managing Director of YouTube UK said: “Looking at the lineup of creative entrepreneurs for The Rise takes my breath away. Their voices — so bold and so brilliantly British — are shining examples of what’s possible on the platform. I’m incredibly proud that YouTube continues to be a platform for such wonderfully creative talent from across the UK, and is a great reflection of diverse, modern Britain.”
The nation’s PE teacher Joe Wicks MBE and Gabriel Sey AKA “The Active Black Dad” ○ Joe Wicks, The Body Coach TV said: “I love Gabriel’s style, his energy and his videos — they are inspirational for the whole family. It’s great to see him building an audience and doing it with such honesty and personality. YouTube is the perfect place for a talent who is committed to making people healthier and happier even in these challenging times.”
○ Gabriel Sey said: “It’s wild to be part of The Rise and alongside such a hero like Joe Wicks. He’s an inspiration to creators everywhere, and his videos are proof that there’s an audience out there of all ages who want to find out more about fitness and health. We can work together for a better future for British families.”
Rapper and YouTuber KSI alongside emerging viral comedian, musician and presenter, Yung Filly ○ KSI said: “Yung Filly is an absolute legend – he’s funny, talented and has got big things ahead. Every time I’ve worked with him we’ve had a great connection, so it was a no-brainer to name him as a rising star talent for The Rise. YouTube really has levelled the playing field so that anyone – whatever their background – can be heard, and I think it’s great that we’re shining a spotlight on the new talent to watch.”
○ Yung Filly said: “Having come up on YouTube, I have seen first-hand the opportunity the platform gives to young people to showcase their creativity and build a brand. KSI is no doubt the best example of what’s possible. He is THE YouTube pioneer and has led the way for many of us to follow. His ambition to not just stick to one lane in life is something that defines YouTube and myself, which makes me proud to partner with him on The Rise.”
Afrobeats dance sensation Sherrie Silver and Afro-Dance King, A-Star:
○ Sherrie Silver said: “I got my start just recording dance videos and uploading them to YouTube, so it’s an honour to have been asked to take part in The Rise with A-Star. I’ve been a big fan of his music and it doesn’t surprise me one bit that he’s becoming a spotlight for the dance world. Embracing our African heritage through dance shows that creativity comes from passion, and I’m proud to inspire others in kind.”
○ A-Star said: “Sherrie and I have been friends for a long time, and I admire what she has done in bringing Afro Dance to a broad audience around the world. YouTube has given us both an opportunity to showcase our creativity and allow people in the UK to learn about our African culture and music. I’m honoured Sherrie named me for The Rise, and we’ve already been talking about the exciting collabs that will come off the back of this.”
The founder of GRM Daily, Posty, and emerging British rapper Meekz Manny:
○ Posty, founder of GRM Daily said: “YouTube is a huge part of GRM Daily. From day one it allowed us to make content that we are passionate about and to grow a community of passionate artists on the cutting edge of Black British music. I’m no stranger to breaking new artists, and it’s clear to me that Meekz has got something special. His music, his look, everything. This guy is going places quick.”
○ Meekz Manny said: “Big up Posty man, firstly for selecting me as one of his favourite rappers. He obviously knows his stuff ;). No, but seriously, it means a lot knowing that someone who’s been around for so long and worked with almost every single upcoming artist to come through the UK scene at a high level has selected me – a huge statement. And something which I’m honourably
proud of. I want to thank GRM Daily for being so supportive of my releases, and also for creating a worldwide platform that has changed the lives of many people. Starting from the streets of London and took it to the world and beyond. GRM Daily gave the streets a voice, a heard voice for the youth, a place for the culture to learn and build; it almost feels like it’s been around forever. It’s part of the infrastructure.”
The founder and creator behind pioneering football fan channel AFTV Robbie Lyle and emerging Spurs superfan YouTube creator, Expressions Oozing
○ Robbie Lyle, AFTV said: “It’s very exciting and rewarding to be recognised by YouTube for The Rise. I have relished the opportunity to give fans a voice and I think it’s great to see supporters of all clubs using YouTube as a platform. Expressions and I share the same passion for the game and for our teams it’s great to see him rising up – just as long as Arsenal always comes out on top!”
○ Expressions Oozing said: “Despite Robbie’s poor taste in football clubs, it’s a pleasure to be involved in this project alongside him. AFTV has and continues to lead from the front in its goal of giving fans a voice – even if his team looks to be falling behind!”
LGBTQA+ comedy genius Dan Howell and rising star of vintage lesbian fabulousness and disability advocate, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard AKA Jessica Out of the Closet
○ Daniel Howell said: “My channel is all about being authentic – some days that’s been creating comedy about what’s on my mind, and others it may be discussing real my serious struggles with mental health or sexuality. YouTube has let me be who I am and create on my own terms, building a community that has come with me on my journey, laughing along the way. I chose to work with Jessica because she is such a genuine creator making important content, while serving fabulous style on the side. She’s doing really important things when it comes to raising awareness of disabilities and issues that the LGBTQA+ community face and I think, a great role-model.”
○ Jessica Kellgren-Fozard said: “YouTube has given me a platform to talk about important topics that are not spoken about enough in other media, allowing others to educate themselves and feel comfortable in their own skin. I have been following Dan’s channel for years and admire the work he’s done in helping people speak more openly about mental health and their sexuality. I’m excited to be partnering with him on The Rise and look forward to bringing even more recognition to the issues that we’re both passionate about.”
Celebrity inventor and YouTube creator, Colin Furze, alongside Kids Invent Stuff, a rising star channel from award-winning inventors Ruth Amos & Shawn Brown.
○ Colin Furze said: “Ruth and Shawn are doing an incredible job making science and learning fun with Kids Invent Stuff. They are helping breed a new generation of mad scientists and experimenters by showing kids what’s possible and bringing their dreams to life. As a fellow creator of wacky inventions I couldn’t wait to partner with them again on The Rise.”
○ Ruth Amos, Kids Invent Stuff said: “We were really excited to hear that Colin had chosen to spotlight our channel as a rising star. YouTube has allowed us to connect with some of the most imaginative and creative young people, all while making some fun videos along the way! Colin is a legend of science and invention in his own right and someone we’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with in the past. We’re thrilled to be paired alongside him.”
Gaming sensation Yammy and parenting rising star SJ Strum
○ Yasmin Uddin, Yammy said: “It’s so important for people to be able to stay true to themselves. As a mum with a love for gaming, I really admire how SJ has embraced her ‘geeky self’ and developed
a channel which has helped both her and others along the way. She’s already achieved so much! Being recognised as a YouTube pioneer on The Rise is really cool, and it’s brilliant that this campaign is celebrating moms, proving women can do anything they put their mind to.”
○ Sarah-Jayne, SJ Strum said: “Being a mum on YouTube has meant I’ve captured so many moments of motherhood that my whole family loves. I’m so proud that Yasmin selected my channel for The Rise. I have so much admiration for what she’s built and I hope our stories inspire other moms out there to invest and share their passions, too.”
Lockdown quizmaster sensation and YouTube creator, Jay Flynn MBE and Jack Edwards, the founder of The StudyTube Project, an educational collective of creators who came together when schools and universities shut their doors due to the pandemic this year
○ Jay Flynn, Jay’s Virtual Pub Quiz said: “If you had asked me a year ago what I’d be doing with my life, I would have never imagined it would be this! What started as something small to help my friends and family get through lockdown has grown into something really special, and I’m just
grateful that so many people have found my YouTube channel and the quizzes such fun. Jack and The StudyTube Project are a great example of how YouTube can allow communities to come together and connect with each other and for creators to give back!”
○ Jack Edwards, The StudyTube Project said: “When schools and universities closed down in March, we brought together 18 educational content creators onto one shared platform called The StudyTube Project. The idea was to provide free educational content every single day throughout lockdown, so that young people could have their brains stimulated and learn something new. From astrophysics to sign language, classical civilisations to finances, we managed to cover a broad variety of subjects with a diverse range of creators from different backgrounds. There’s power in education, not only on an intellectual level but also because going to school provides escapism and a safe space for so many young people. We wanted to continue that sense of community even during a time of isolation, and it was great to see so many young people get involved. It was very inspiring to see what Jay was able to achieve by also using YouTube to keep the nation entertained. It’s so important to use our voices and platforms to help others, and it’s great that YouTube enabled us to do that for free!”
Muslim stylist, designer and mother, Dina Tokio and Dr Amina, an academic by day and rising star empowering women to embrace academia in her spare time.
○ Dina Tokio said: “I know that being a Muslim woman can be hard, but it’s so important to be heard and push for equality. My religion is a core part of who I am, and I chose Dr Amina to partner with on The Rise because I think she is a growing and important voice for Muslim women in the UK. She’s smart, she’s open, and she’s passionate about empowering others to pursue their dreams.”
○ Dr Amina Yonis said: “I started my channel to inspire others through my education, travels and passions, so when I was asked by Dina to be her rising star on this campaign, I was delighted to accept and hopefully pave the way for others who wish to grow online. As a new mother myself, Dina has been extremely inspiring as someone who has built a career on the platform, whilst also juggling the demands of running a family. To be chosen by Dina for The Rise really demonstrates the desire that she and YouTube have in helping diverse and creative talent from the UK thrive on the platform.”
Photo credit Henry J Kamara