YouTube Teams With U.S. State Department on Music Diplomacy Initiative Supported by Jelly Roll, Chuck D

YouTube Teams With U.S. State Department on Music Diplomacy Initiative Supported by Jelly Roll, Chuck D

Any music lover knows that a great song transcends borders and languages. Now, that unifying power is being leveraged as a diplomatic tool.

On Monday (June 24), YouTube announced a partnership with the U.S. State Department as part of the Global Music Diplomacy Initiative, a program launched last September by U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken that aims to use music to promote peace and diplomacy around the world.


Global Music Diplomacy Initiative Unveiled at State Department Event in Washington, D.C.


The project centers around a group of genre-spanning artists who will act as musical ambassadors. Chuck D, Herbie Hancock, Jelly Roll, Armani White, Breland, Denyce Graves, Grace Bowers, Justin Tranter, Kane Brown, Lainey Wilson and Teddy Swims are all participating, with additional artists to be announced.

The Global Music Diplomacy Initiative is an extension of the PEACE through Music Diplomacy Act, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden last year and directed the State Department to facilitate public-private partnerships that would support music-related diplomacy.

YouTube was selected as a partner given its global reach and influence on music culture worldwide. The partnership will include micro-grants to support people who use music to create positive change in their communities; YouTube will also assist the State Department in its work using music as a tool for learning English. Additionally, they will team up to engage audiences and aspiring artists in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France and India and “utilize major international gatherings to inspire action around the unifying power of music,” according to a blog post written by YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen and YouTube vp of public policy Leslie Miller.

In a joint statement, Cohen and Miller wrote, “Music is a unifying force — it transcends language, cultural and national differences. It helps us understand and appreciate each other in ways almost nothing else can. During the height of the Cold War, the United States launched the Jazz Ambassadors program to send artists like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughn overseas to bridge cultural gaps and cultivate goodwill across the globe. The Jazz Ambassadors program left a lasting legacy, demonstrating the power of music as a diplomatic tool for fostering cultural understanding.”

“We’re excited to be a part of the next chapter in music diplomacy, helping to amplify the voices of artists and strengthen our community bonds across borders,” the statement continued. “Music reminds us more of what we can have in common than what separates us. That is the message we intend to echo around the world as we embark on this partnership, using the power of music to inspire peace for all.”