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Celebrating Black History: Past, Present and Afrofuturism

A purple, abstract background behind the Google logo in purple as well. In the forefront there is an illustration of James Baldwin softly smiling  sitting at a desk holding a pen. On the desk there is a mug, some papers and a stack of books.

Black culture is all around us — from the music we love and the trends we follow to the tech we use. And as the future unfolds, we’re seeing firsthand how the bold ideas and transformative creations of Black founders, creatives and leaders across society are accelerating the benefits of AI and improving product representation.

That’s why Google's Black Googler Network (BGN) — which I’m honored to help lead — chose the theme "Afrofuturism" for our 2024 Black History Month theme. Afrofuturism, a movement merging science fiction, history and African diaspora culture, has transcended the pages of books and the screens of cinemas. In my role as one of the global leads for BGN, I’ve had the privilege of meeting Googlers from all backgrounds who embody the spirit of Afrofuturism and who are building the products and solutions to help make that future one we can all be proud of.

As Google celebrates Black History Month in Canada, the US and Germany and continues to support the Black community all year round, here are three highlights that I'm particularly excited about:

Celebrating Black culture through our products

On February 1, the Google homepage honors the late James Baldwin, American writer and civil rights activist, through an inspiring Google Doodle created by guest artist Jon Key. Google Play is also highlighting inspiring and innovative Black creators in the Black History Month hub which will feature a curated selection of apps, games and books. Google TV will feature a “Black Genius” collection of movies and shows in a variety of themes: Afrofuturism, real-life stories of Black innovation & strength, the next generation of Black genius, and free Live TV focused on Black-centric content. You’ll also find content in Google TV’s Featured Carousel with a “Black Genius” tag all month.

Google Arts & Culture also added new stories and built a new chapter celebrating the performing arts to its Black History and Culture hub. The hub now spotlights new partnerships with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Massachusetts Hip Hop Archive, and features new collaborations with existing partners from many other museums and archives. YouTube invites users to explore its Spotlight Channel, where they can discover content from creators across Gaming, Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle and more.

And extra special for me this year, BGN members Asya Brown, Na’kia Channey and Dieu Buhendwa partnered with Google Meet to create its latest virtual background, celebrating Black culture and art. This background showcases items of important historical and cultural significance, reminding us of the rich lineage of Black culture.

Working alongside industry leaders to build for the future

Access to resources, including training and mentorship, played a pivotal role in my journey to Google. It's incredibly inspiring to witness how Google is using its reach to help the next generation of innovators, students and entrepreneurs reach their goals.

Those looking to explore a career in tech can jumpstart their journey by exploring Google’s Tech Equity Collective resources like its tech career exploration app, Black Genius Academy.

Google is also partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities on initiatives like Project Elevate Black Voices, a first-of-its-kind partnership to build more responsive speech technology and product experiences for Black communities, and our Google Tech Exchange program.

You can also see this work through programs and events like Grow with Google’s annual Black Business Summit and Digital Coaches program — each providing access to valuable tools for business owners and entrepreneurs to invest more deeply in their work.

Supporting Black Googlers through our growing community

BGN is an invaluable resource for Black employees at Google. I joined Google seven years ago and the relationships I've built through this community have been incredible. It provides a vital space for Black Googlers to connect, share experiences and support one another.

We've worked with teams across Google to host a variety of impactful events and content, from educational Talks at Google events featuring amazing Black creators like Keke Palmer and Emmanuel Acho, to company-wide professional development initiatives like the Black Men of Google Summit.

My time at Google is better because I’m an active member of BGN. I've learned to think bigger about what is possible and what problems we can solve. Together, we have the opportunity to bring the ideas of Afrofuturism to life and make a positive change in the world, and it's truly inspiring to be a part of that journey alongside so many amazing people.

  • A Googler stands in the front of a room holding a tablet, smiling at a group of young students as they use

    BGN hosts a STEM career event in NYC

  • A Googler sits with a group of small business owners attending the training. The Googler is showing how to use Google Sheets on a laptop for the group as they watch the screen.

    BGN in partnership with Grow with Google hosting a small business training

  • A group of Googlers, all women, bunched together waving, or showing piece signs for a large group photo

    Google’s “State of Black Women” summit in Europe

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