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The Most Searched: Google’s ad pays tribute to Black History makers

Where data meets history

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The most searched performance. The most searched tap dancer. The most searched poet. The most searched talk show.

The results? Agents of change, or as Google has deemed them: Black history makers.


Google’s new progressive Black History Month video is based on 15 years of search data collected from 2004 through July 2019 -- showcasing the most searched topics and consequently the iconic results and their contribution to history.

“There are moments in history that captivate us all," reads the video’s introduction before flashing to Beyonce’s Coachella show, the most searched performance on the platform.

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In seconds, the ad rewinds to the past showing Prince, the most searched guitar solo and highlights famed poet Maya Angelou. Nearly a minute into the video, viewers are introduced to the most searched NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, her contributions to the space agency highlighted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures.”

[READ: Melbourne High grad up for Oscar for ‘Hidden Figures’]

The video continues to celebrate black excellence, paying homage to history while honoring those paving the way for the future and it all ends with the most searched speech in history: Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream.”

With more than 24 million views on YouTube, Google’s video has since gone viral and has been praised for paying tribute to the 24 most searched black figures but like most ads, it was also met with criticism for leaving others out such as the likes of Michael Jackson.

You can form your own opinion by watching the video below. Make sure to keep scrolling to see a list of Google’s ‘most searched.’

Most Searched Abolitionist, Frederick Douglass:

Slavery and abolishment shape much of Black history. Written works and influential words made Frederick Douglass one of America’s most well-known abolitionists and the most searched as he still makes history books today.

Most Searched Athlete, LeBron James:

LeBron James holds many titles -- including both the most searched athlete and basketball player in the United States. The three-time NBA champion’s legacy goes beyond basketball, now notable for opening a new public school in his hometown Akron. The I PROMISE School serves disadvantaged children.

Most Searched Autobiography, Malcolm X:

Malcolm X is a well-known human rights figure and advocates for the black community. Search interest for the autobiography in the U.S. peaked in February 2005, coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the activist’s death.

Most Searched Ballerina, Misty Copeland:

With four times more U.S. search interest than the next most searched ballerina, Misty Copeland’s Google trends statistics lends to her legacy of breaking barriers. In September 2014, she became the first African American to star in American Ballet Theatre’s production of “Swan Lake" becoming a role model for young ballerinas everywhere.

Most Searched Baseball Player, Derek Jeter:

Derek Jeter spent 20 years with the New York Yankees and eventually became the first Yankee to collect 3,000 hits. He hit the career milestone on July 9, 2011.

Most Searched Boycott, Montgomery Bus Boycott:

Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat for a white passenger helped spark the civil rights movement and decades later lent to America’s most-searched boycott. For more than a year, black Americans joined the first U.S. mass demonstration against segregation, a pivotal and one of the most-studied moments in black history.

Most Searched Drag Queen, RuPaul:

RuPaul has become an international icon, you didn’t need Google trends to tell you that. The drag queen found fame with his music and then changed the tone toward drag queens with “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Most Searched EGOT Winner, John Legend:

It’s a feat only 15 people have accomplished: winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award or an EGOT for those familiar with the Academy Awards. John Legend is the first Black man to win all four, but he definitely has more trophies on display. Legend just won a 2020 Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Performance.

Most Searched Poet, Maya Angelou:

Maya Angelou’s most searched poem in America, “Still I Rise,” was published in 1978 but lives on in the form of tattoos and stickers. Her words transcend time as people continue to connect with them. Search interest in the phrase “still I rise” spiked after her death in 2014.

Most Searched Guitar Solo, Prince:

Prince’s guitar solos have more U.S. search interest than any other artist’s guitar solos in Google Trends history. Some of his famous solos include him showcasing his talents on guitar strings during “Purple Rain” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Most Searched Gymnast, Simone Biles:

At just 22 years old, Simone Biles is tied for the most decorated American female athlete. Leaping her way to 30 Olympic and World Championship medals, her legacy will live beyond the beam with two gymnastics moves named after her.

Most Searched Homecoming, Howard University:

Howard University is the most searched historically Black university in the U.S. and so is its lively homecoming event Yardfest. Yardfest is known for legendary performances from artists like Jay-Z, Drake and Kanye West.

Most Searched Interception, Malcolm Butler:

Twenty seconds was all Malcolm Butler needed to make history. After intercepting the pass that would have won the Seattle Seahawks its second championship, Butler put the New England Patriots in position to win Super Bowl XLIX and marks his feat as one of the most searched football moves.

Most Searched Jazz Musician, Louis Armstrong:

He’s one of the most recognized jazz musicians. Louis Armstrong first played on riverboats in his hometown, New Orleans and became known for what is now his most searched song, “What a Wonderful World." He recorded the song late in his career at 66 years old.

Most Searched March, March on Washington:

More than 250,000 people marched for change in 1963. It was during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his most famous – and the most searched – speech in America.

Most Searched Movement, Civil Rights Movement:

The civil rights movement was the struggle against social injustice and black America’s fight for equality. It’s also one of the most studied movements in modern-day history.

Most Searched NASA Mathematician, Katherine Johnson:

Katherine Johnson’s calculations helped put people into orbit around the Earth, then onto the moon. Shortly after the biographical film “Hidden Figures” was widely released in January 2017, search interest for Johnson peaked becoming her a recognizable black figure in the science field.

Most Searched Remix, Lil Nas X:

Whether you hated it or liked it, “Old Town Road” is not only a record-breaking song, it is also America’s most-searched remix and country-rap song.

Most Searched Sit-In, Greensboro Sit-In:

In 1960, four Black college students entered a Woolworth in Greensboro, North Carolina, and began a series of sit-ins that spread across the country. Of those four, the most searched in America is Joseph McNeil, who went on to become a major general in the U.S. Air Force.

Most Searched Speech, “I Have a Dream” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

The most searched speech in America was delivered to a crowd of thousands, but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words inspire millions today and is still one of the most recognizable speeches to date.

Most Searched Star-Spangled Banner, Whitney Houston:

In 1991, at Super Bowl XXV, Whitney Houston sang a rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” that was so powerful, it was later released as a charity single. “I Will Always Love You,” Houston’s most searched song in the U.S., is also the best-selling single of all time by a woman.

Most Searched Tap Dancer, Gregory Hines:

Gregory Hines has been a singer, a film and TV actor, and a director, but he’s most known for how he moves his feet. Hines is the most searched tap dancer and if you’re familiar with tap dancing, you’ve likely heard him be credited with the resurgence of the art in American dance culture.

Most Searched Tennis Player, Serena Williams:

With 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 women’s doubles titles, and 4 Olympic gold medals, Serena Williams has established her preeminence. She has more U.S. search interest than Wimbledon, tennis’s oldest tournament.

Most Searched WWII Airmen, Tuskegee Airmen:

The first African American U.S. military pilots flew over 1,800 missions during WWII. U.S. search interest for the airmen peaked in January 2012, when “Red Tails,” a film about them, was released.


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