“The Most Searched: A Celebration of Black History Makers”

Alton Worley | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Flickr User super bond1

Google released a Black History Month ad Jan. 25, showing that its most searched icons and moments in U.S. history were black.

Using data from Google Trends, Google identified African American achievements that were searched more than anything else. Google used data from Jan. 1, 2004, when search data first became available, to July 1, 2019.

“Growing up, I saw firsthand how the NAACP ACT-SO program inspired young black talent to believe in and showcase their brilliance,” said Justin Steele, director of Google.org.

The most searched U.S. history terms were: abolitionist, athlete, autobiography, ballerina, boycott, drag queen, dunk, EGOT winner, female poet, guitar solo, gymnast, homecoming, interception, jazz musician, march, movement, NASA mathematician, performance, remix, sit in, speech, star-spangled banner, tap dancer, tennis player and World War II airmen were showcased in this advertisement.

The ad received more than 23 million views on YouTube, causing it to trend on all social media platforms.

Some of the most searched topics – such as the most searched speech, “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and most searched remix, “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X – were to be expected, but topics such as the most searched performance, Beyonce’s Coachella performance, and the most searched boycott, in Montgomery, Alabama, were surprising.

Google named the ad “The Most Searched: A Celebration of Black History Makers.” With the data accessible to anyone at any time, Google provided its users with information that was already available. 

“After seeing the ad, I was intrigued to know what else was the most searched and also black,” said Quentin Davis, a sophomore business management major from Philadelphia. “It managed to get me excited for Black History Month and made me proud of our accomplishments as a race. I do wish it was longer, though; as soon as I got excited, it was basically over.” 

The 90-second ad gives each subject of a search topic about 4 to 5 seconds of screen time. That time frame is around the standard for television commercials, but as for whether or not the advertisement will be shown on television is unknown.

“It’s different,” said Jailen Garrett, an HU sophomore sociology major from Baltimore. “Something like that isn’t usually broadcasted, especially not by a big company like Google.” 

It isn’t surprising for a company to highlight African Americans before or during Black History Month, but Google managed to catch the public’s eye by not only making the statement but providing the facts to back it up.

Google set the bar high for 2020’s Black History Month, and it is going to be interesting to see how other companies rise to the occasion and recognize African Americans this year.

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