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News Work2020-02-20

Google and Essence spotlight 'Rising Voices' to celebrate Black History Month

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To celebrate Black History Month, Google and Essence have collaborated with The Guardian and Genius to create a compelling digital content series for Google Search that surfaces the untold stories of lesser-known but important figures within the black community.

Because Google Search uniquely connects the past with the present, these inspiring interviews are designed to bring the very notion of Black History Month to life by paying tribute to history's influence upon today's leaders and future icons. The series, which heralds iconic African American figures from the worlds of art, social justice, and entertainment also supports 'The Most Searched,' Google's campaign to spotlight the importance of African Americans to U.S. culture and history.

In partnership with The Guardian, we created 'Rising Voices', a series of 3 documentary-style films featuring the intimate stories of Imani Perry, a Princeton Professor of Black Studies, Mykal Kilgore, a Broadway musician, and Pages Matam, a slam poet.

To compliment this program that focused on black community leaders, Essence and Google also worked with Genius' IRL franchise to present a fly-on-the wall interview between IRL host Rob Markman and Grammy Award-winning artist H.E.R. to hear how she's shaping culture through music and who has influenced her throughout her career.

Genius and Google devised a series of questions relating to H.E.R's career that also opened up conversations around her black and Filipino roots, the kind of music she listened to growing up, and what she hopes people will find when they Google Search her name in 10 years' time.

The video was distributed on Genius' website, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and H.E.R.'s Instagram & Twitter. Furthermore, one day after the film was released on Genius' YouTube channel to its 7.7m followers, H.E.R also voluntarily posted the film to her YouTube channel and its 1.34m subscribers.

Molly Orell from Essence's Content & Innovation team said "This Google Search campaign celebrating Black History Month was a joy to bring to life with our partners at The Guardian and Genius. Our interviewees were inspiring both on and off-set and we're absolutely thrilled that their stories have resonated so well."