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‘Dear White People,’ ‘This Is America’ See Surge in Interest

Lucas Shaw

(Bloomberg) -- The nationwide protests against police brutality and the killing of black people have sent Americans in search of movies, books and podcasts that deal with race.

Demand for Netflix Inc.’s series “Dear White People” has surged 329%, research firm Parrot Analytics found. Interest in “When They See Us,” a 2019 series about the Central Park Five, has grown 147%, according to the firm, which gauges the popularity of shows based on social media, fan ratings and other measures.

Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” a 2018 song about race and violence in the U.S., reentered the top 50 on Spotify Technology SA’s service, which has promoted a hub for black history all week.

Several books that discuss race relations in the U.S. have sold enough copies this week to be out of stock on Amazon.com Inc.’s site, including “How to Be an Antiracist,” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns.” “Invisible Man,” a novel that explores what it meant to be black in the middle of the 20th century, was published in 1952.

The killing of George Floyd while in police custody -- and the subsequent protests against racial injustice -- have brought introspection. In between debates about police reform, news outlets, activists and media companies have shared lists of edifying books and movies.

The swell of interest has also extended to podcasts. Three series about race -- the New York Times’ “1619,” National Public Radio’s “Code Switch” and Crooked Media’s “Pod Save the People” -- rank among the five most popular shows on Apple Inc.’s podcast app.

(A previous version of the story corrected the title in the second deck headline. Updates with more on protest coverage.)

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