In 2020, the Pop Culture Collaborative launched Becoming America, a multimillion-dollar fund supporting artists, producers, movement organizations, and cultural organizers to ignite public yearning for our pluralist future.

Amidst a global pandemic, racial justice uprisings, and a consequential election season, more than 60 grantees worked together to foster the abundance mindset, cultivate the instinct to seek out and forge bonds across difference, and step into the fight for justice. Together, these creators reached more than 100 million people across the U.S.

  • We knew 2022 was another time of major meaning-making for millions of people. The Pop Culture Collaborative team began to activate Becoming America’s second cycle in 2021. In addition, after listening to our community, we expanded the range of supports available to Becoming America grantees. The Collaborative: 
  • Enhanced grantees’ ability to act as a narrative network. Narrative Weaver Jessica Sykes created digital resources and organized multiple network-wide gatherings for grantees to connect and collaborate.
  • Deepened grantees’ digital distribution practice. We established a powerful partnership with Digital Media Management, a leading entertainment social media agency to provide network-wide digital marketing trainings; 1-1 consults to dozens of grantees; and the strategy design and digital launch for multiple projects.
  • Launched a narrative change podcast collective. Mash-Up Americans, the prolific podcast production company, created a community of support for emerging and veteran podcast producers within the Becoming America narrative network; produced a new podcast production and marketing guide; and organized learning sessions with podcast experts from Spotify, Apple and more. 

Now experience Becoming America: Cycle 2, the ecosystem of pop culture stories, events, and other narrative experiences produced by the almost 60 grantee partners in the 2022 Becoming America narrative network.

Becoming America’s narrative network helped millions of people tap into what brings us joy, in order to expand our imaginations of what’s possible.

The team at Broccoli City Festival brought more than 35,000 BIPOC fans together for a two-day festival featuring a range of popular music artists, including 21 Savage and Ari Lennox.

To call for LGBTQ inclusivity among soccer fans, Amplifier’s Play Proud commissioned artwork by Yash Pradhan that was displayed across North American soccer stadiums and players’ custom jerseys; and teamed up to create an exclusive line of Augment Reality (AR)-activated merchandise to link fans to inspiring, bilingual storytelling.

Scholar and superfan Zaheer Ali will debut the Prince Syllabus this summer, a content universe for fans to deploy Prince’s body of work as a driver of social justice and pluralist culture.

Whether at the White House with President Biden, or on the Grammys red carpet, artist/activist Lachi is pushing towards more access and inclusion in music and public life. Her single, Black Girl Cornrows has had over 6 million views on TikTok. Billboard’s review of the song said, “When you put this song on, you’ll be ready to hit the streets … stalking the sidewalk proudly and joyously for all to admire.” 

From Wakanda to a new generation of superheroes, they showed us how to unlock our powers to create change.

Based on interviews with 42 Black leaders in many industries who are working to build Black futures, AI for the People has produced the report “The People’s Guide to Wakanda.” This guide captures the film’s premise that Black-led innovation in technology can positively affect the political, economic, and cultural health of Black communities and collectively improve Black futures.

AI for the People also released their short film, Blackness Unbound, which premiered in theaters in Los Angeles before releasing online in conjunction with the Smithsonian’s “Claiming Space” Symposium.

Drawing on people and projects that embody Black euphoria—imagination, freedom, and creativity—Intelligent Mischief and Picture Motion debuted Searching for Wakanda, Season 1 of the Black Euphoria Podcast, a “for fandom by fandom” video podcast series.

The Langston League, a collective of Black curriculum designers, released the first two volumes of Wakanda Unscripted, a multi-themed syllabus for middle and high school students exploring Wakanda by examining the history of ancient African and Mesoamerican civilizations and their legacy as early innovators in STEM.

Weird Enough Productions partnered with WebToons–one of largest online comic platforms– to release The UnCommons, a comic about a team of superheroes who have to save each other to save the world.

And as announced in Variety, Maya Penn’s Upenndo! Productions has teamed up with Viola Davis and JuVee Productions to produce her animated short film ASALI: Power of The Pollinators, an action-packed adventure that follows a colorful group of pollinators and an environmental scientist as they unravel a trail of secrets to discover if they can save their home from a monstrous and deadly force. Whoopi Goldberg is a voice actor on the series. 

Other partners sought to reach “The Hesitants”— the millions of people who desire change but remain cynical to the possibility of new futures by engaging them with honesty and transparency.

Comedian Murf Myer’s Self Medicated: Weekly Dose podcast used personal stories and comedy to talk about drugs, terrible drug policies, and dismantling stigma around drug users. Murf is joined each episode by fellow comedians, drug users, musicians, journalists, friends, family, and folks from all walks of the addiction treatment community to riff on drug culture in America.

Pluralist Visionary George Goehl wrote articles and developed a book project to drive narrative transformation about how we understand and organize within rural communities. 

The stop-motion comedy web series, The Littletons, created by the team at Wake Up and Vote and Gutsy Media, sought to reach moderate women across the Midwest, tackling topics from immigration to reproductive justice.

Define American partnered with YouTube influencers on Building a Better Digital Narrative for Immigrants, creating powerful content for millions of people who are on the cusp of being radicalized by right wing forces through disinformation and false concepts like the Great Replacement Theory.

Through comedy and cooking, Becoming America partners helped us to connect more deeply to ourselves and to each other.

Launched on Buzzfeed, Offsides Productions, in partnership with actor-producer Rosario Dawson, produced Normal Ain’t Normal, a four-part anthology, which delves into the complex, and sometimes hilarious, reality of living in a pandemic world.

Comedians Aizzah Fatima and Atheer Yacoub produced and starred in digital comedy shorts, Muslim Girls DTF (Discuss Their Faith), featuring an all American-Muslim female cast on topics that “plague Muslim women such as sex, pork, and body hair.” 

The one-of-a-kind hybrid comedy-drama documentary, Sell/Buy/Date follows comedian Sarah Jones as she travels across the United States, navigating the sex industry’s relationship with race, power, and economics made its streaming debut.

United We Dream, produced and launched the four-part cooking series we’ve all been waiting for, No Borders, Just Flavors, featuring two immigrant youth chefs highlighting family recipes of dishes with shared roots and personal storytelling.

Native comedian Joey Clift’s, with producer Mik Moore, launched Gone Native, a digital comedy shorts series. Debuting across all of Comedy Central’s social channels, the series shines a satirical light on the weird microaggressions people make toward Native Americans–from the harmful Indian Burial Ground trope, to non-Natives using the term “Spirit Animal,” to the failure to teach contemporary Native history in K-12 education. 

Their stories allowed us to experience and understand the beauty of fluidity.

To coincide with Pride Month, IllumiNative launched Good Relatives, a digital content campaign featuring four Indigenous artists amplifying the voices, issues, histories, current experiences and stories of 2 Spirit LGBTQIA+ Native peoples. 

Red Hot Productions is developing “TRAИƧA: Red Hot Transcends,” an album that will feature songs by high-profile and emerging gender-expansive artists that are both love letters to the Trans community and cultural bridges to those who may not yet relate to their gender as a space for exploration and evolution. 

TT the Artist, artist, rapper, and director of Netflix documentary, Dark City Beneath the Beat, released DENIM, a series of fantastical imagining of masculinity and femininity that illuminates queer people of color and LGBTQIA+ creatives in fashion, beauty, music, film, and visual art, showcasing how they use art as a form of activism and self-discovery. Episodes feature rising rapper Kidd Kenn and designer DENIM.

Becoming America partners took us through a journey of healing, including the complexity of how we care for ourselves, and each other.

Justice for Migrant Women debuted its photography series, The Humans Who Feed Us, a narrative portrait project living both on social media and in restaurants, stores, universities, and food festivals around the country, seeking to humanize and make visible the millions of immigrants who work in the food supply chain. 

Caring Across Generations activated partnerships with more than a dozen micro-influencers to collaborate around personal stories and issues of caregiving as part of the CARE Influencer Campaign, reaching millions of people.

Renowned author Jason Reynolds debuted the intimate podcast “My Mother Made Me,” in partnership with PRX’s Radiotopia, exploring the relationship between Reynolds and his mother, Isabell. The podcast premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival’s inaugural podcast festival. 

Mash-up Americans’ podcast, Grief, Collected, co-hosted by Amy Choi and Rebecca Lehrer, explores the human condition that is grief and how it impacts us emotionally, physically, culturally, and collectively. With guests, they process the fundamental question: Can we change the shape of our future by processing our past?

After the fall of Roe, Becoming America partners illustrated the dangerous domino effect on reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, and civil rights.

URGE launched “Abortion Bans are Racist, a narrative and organizing campaign utilizing paid media and digital content to spark new and ongoing connective conversations among young and BIPOC activists about the inherent connections between abortion access, racial justice, and reproductive justice.

TransLash produced and distributed, “The Road From Roe” an original, short animated film that seeks to propel the wider American public to understand the historic links between transgender and reproductive rights.

Act for Abortion, a collective of cultural organizers and artists, produced a series of creative activations including artwork, gospel rallies, and banner drops in support of abortion access in key states most impacted by abortion bans, and also developing a digital PSA on abortion access and safety in a Post-Roe environment. 

Offsides Productions co-produced “Dads for Choice,” a comedic PSA video launched right before Father’s Day, with the goal of getting more men and gender-nonconforming papas of all stripes involved in the movement. The video was used to amplify Operation Save Abortion, a day-long training session for thousands of people to learn how to defend their rights.

The National LGBTQ Task Force launched Ban the Repro Binary, a pop culture social media campaign, including multiple video vignettes, to help gay, cis-men understand the impact of Roe vs. Wade on their communities, and bring them into the reproductive justice fight.

Through its Indigenous Reproductive Autonomy Project, IllumiNative commissioned Native women and nonbinary artists to produce multi-media creative content spotlighting the ongoing fight for reproductive autonomy in Native communities.

As part of its biennial Let’s Talk About Sex (LTAS) conference, SisterSong produced a virtual one-hour special that centered and spotlighted BIPOC leaders in political education, activism, and entertainment to build public engagement around reproductive justice.

Shout Your Abortion activated an influencer media outreach strategy to empower new activists to become local ambassadors for abortion healthcare info, abortion funds, and independent clinics, as a way forward in a post-Roe America.

Harness, Firebrand and The Meteor launched the video series #unitedstatesofabortion in the Fall of 2022. The first story—focused on Amanda Zurawski, a Texas woman who almost died because she couldn’t access abortion services—was featured on the homepage of People magazine, splashed across all the major Texas newspapers, and highlighted on TV news shows, reaching almost 10 million people. The video was even shared by Vice President Kamala Harris, and Amanda was invited by First Lady Jill Biden to attend the 2023 State Of The Union Address.

Pluralist Visionaries and other powerful artists helped us reckon with the ongoing mistreatment of communities integral to strengthening America and its democratic institutions.

Color Farm Media produced and launched the duPont-Columbia Award-winning Finding Tamika, a podcast series hosted by Erika Alexander that brings attention to the Black women and girls who have gone missing or who have died…and the many more living in plain sight, invisibly.

Pluralist Visionaries Saket Soni’s first book, The Great Escape tells a moving, powerful, and true story of the greatest migrant labor trafficking scandal in American History post Hurricane Katrina. Saket’s book tour, buoyed by a glowing review by The New York Times, continues through 2023.

Pluralist Visionary and one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential People of the Year, Imara Jones investigated and spotlighted the donors, political leaders, and systems that are launching a full scale attack against the trans community in her podcast, Anti-Trans Hate Machine.

In her podcast, Our Body Politic, Pluralist Visionary Farai Chideya, brought voice to the experiences of Black women, the singular constituency that never takes our Democracy for granted and consistently shows up to preserve and protect it.

Pluralist Visionary Cristina Jimenez’s upcoming book, out later this year, confronts the long history of White Supremacy and anti-blackness that has shaped the modern day American immigration system.

Pluralist Visionary Crystal Echo Hawk and co-host Lashay Wesley launched the podcast American Genocide, chronicling the true crime story unfolding in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, about the compounding intergenerational pain of Native American boarding schools and whether it’s possible for a community, Native peoples, and the United States to achieve truth, healing, and reconciliation. American Genocide ranked among top 100 true crime series on Apple Podcasts.

Becoming America partners created a surround sound of digital content and experiential art that engaged BIPOC and Gen Z communities to sing, eat, skate, and dance their way to the polls.

Joy To the Polls encouraged, excited, and empowered people across the country to feel an expansive possibility with their vote, with the Joy To The Polls Playlist and through pop-up concerts at polling locations across the country where voters rocked out to local artists and DJs performing on flatbed trucks. 

Fueled by authentic and compelling storytellers, creatives, and artists, the Center for Cultural Power’s Movement to the Ballot Box used visual art, photos, music, comic strips, and other creative digital content to mobilize young BIPOC, trans, immigrant, and/or disabled voters.

RUN AAPI’s campaign Give a F*CK About the Midterms, organized AAPI digital influencers, including a collaboration with a popular food and lifestyle blogger. This blogger’s original content was among the campaign’s most effective in helping to mobilize and educate young AAPI voters. 

Harness activated indigenous audiences through their cultural campaign Skate to the Polls and activated BIPOC youth through their Ride to the Polls campaign, where they produced digital content, street art, concerts, on the ground pop-up voter engagement activations with artists, and more. 

At concerts featuring performing artist Common — the Imagine Justice Society produced pop-up activations and immersive experiences using original augmented reality content (videos, artwork, music, etc.) to highlight high-profile decarceration policies on ballots across the country.

The League’s Hometown Labs encouraged civic engagement by leveraging local, and in some cases hyper-local, culture, with a particular focus on local artists and influencers.

Culture Surge built capacity by developing tools and materials and hosting briefings for leading influencers, artists, cultural strategists, and movement leaders to seed and amplify a shared narrative leading up to the 2022 Election. 

The National Domestic Workers Alliance’s Care Influencer Program organized digital influencers who shared personal stories around care and civic empowerment. 

A/B partners launched Win Black to foster inoculation against misinformation among young Black men during the 2022 election season. Their Three Wins video encouraged Black men to fact-check sources while fostering agency within black men to see that they can create change in this country.

The #iVoted Festival helped harness the power of music and entertainment to increase voter turnout among young people and fanbases in critical states across the nation. By submitting a selfie from outside their polling place or with a blank and unmarked ballot, fans entered for a chance to win tickets to over 600 concerts nationwide including Lizzo, The Who, Demi Lovato, Smashing Pumpkins, and Noah Cyrus. All entrants were guaranteed access to the #iVoted Festival’s election-night webcast, featuring performances by more than 500 artists including Billie Eilish, Finneas, Run The Jewels, The Happy Fits, Molly Burch, Rise Against, Jordana, and 3OH!3.