What Google's Black History Month Ad Says About Black Culture in America

If you haven’t seen Google’s BHM commercial on tv, on Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere that video is served - you should go watch it.

The commercial (quite brilliantly) references culture defining moments in American history - Beyonce’s Coachella performance, Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize, Maya Angelou being brilliant, Serena Williams being a badass - based on insights from Google search data. As a media and advertising professional, this was pretty genius to me.

(Photo cred)

Google said: “This Black History Month, we’re celebrating some of #TheMostSearched moments and individuals in America. To find them, we used U.S.-based Google Trends Data to identify Black American achievements that were searched more than any others between January 1, 2004 – when U.S. Search Data first became available – and July 1, 2019. Here’s to the history makers and all those they continue to inspire.”

Let’s discuss.

This masterpiece of a SuperBowl ad shows how Black culture has driven American culture.

This is seen everywhere:

Renegade dance sensation on TikTok.

Popeyes vs Chick-Fil-A (and the resulting scarcity of Popeyes sandwiches).

And I oop!

Sorry to this man.

Hot Girl Summer.

These things all have one thing in common: Black creators created them.

It doesn’t stop at viral memes. Of course. From social media, to social movements, to art and fashion, to advances in science and technology (HIDDEN FIGURES!!!). Black people have really been doing it for the culture.

American culture is a tricky thing to define. I think it would vary depending on who you ask. We’re a pretty new country. We’re made up of immigrants (and people forced here) from every part of the globe, so it’s hard to pinpoint a single defining “American culture” other than hamburgers and baseball.

Slavery ripped away cultural customs and norms for Black Americans. It forced us to have to create a new culture. And here we are. An incredibly resilient, highly entertaining, simply genius people, defining American culture. The way we look, our slang, our hairstyles, our art, our dance moves - it’s all helped to give Americans a sense of self.

Google, the ad was cute. Really cute. It even made me emotional.

But because our blueprint on American culture is so prominent and hard to look over…

Stop looking over us.

Google’s Black employees make up just 2.5% of it’s workforce (according to this 2018 article. #receipts). Furthermore, Black people make up about 7% of U.S. high-tech workforce, and just 3% of the total Silicon Valley workforce (more receipts).

These - Facebook (who owns Instagram), Google (who owns YouTube), Lyft, Uber, and other Big Tech - companies are quite literally forming and influencing American culture. Representation in big tech, advertising, film, and fashion matters, especially when Black people have such a hand in defining American culture.

So @Google,Facebook,allofyall. Hire us. Promote us. Listen to us. Respect us and what we bring to the table.

It’s not just about ads during Black History Month.

(The ad was really dope tho.)