Netflix stars recreate 'A Great Day in Harlem' photo for 'Strong Black Lead' promo
Netflix assembled 47 of its black actors, creators, and directors across shows and films like Luke Cage, Orange Is the New Black, and Dear White People for a special promo that aired during the BET Awards on Sunday.
The television spot, titled “A Great Day in Hollywood,” celebrated the growing diversity of Hollywood in recreating Art Kane’s famous photo “A Great Day in Harlem,” an image that captured the golden age of jazz in New York City’s Harlem in 1958.
Mike Colter, Alfre Woodard, and Simone Missick (Luke Cage) were spotted alongside Caleb McLaughlin and Priah Ferguson (Stranger Things), Laverne Cox and Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), Lena Waithe (Master of None), Logan Browning and Ashley Blaine Featherson (Dear White People), 13th and Central Park Five director Ava DuVernay, She’s Gotta Have It creator Spike Lee, Derek Luke and Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why), and many others.
McLaughlin, narrating the spot, declared “a day for our generation to see untold experiences of our blackness, representing a limitless range of identity, playing kings and queens of our neighbors, defeating larger than life forces, trying to flip our world upside down.”
“We’re not a genre, because there’s no one way to be black,” he said. “We’re writing while black, nuanced and complex, resilient and strong. This is not a moment, this is a movement. We are strong black leaders. Today is a great day in Hollywood.”
The promo, which had reportedly been in the works for months and was directed by Lacey Duke and shot by Malik Sayeed, aired days after The Hollywood Reporter revealed Netflix fired PR chief Jonathan Friedland for using the N-word in a meeting with staffers.
It also marks the latest efforts from Strong Black Lead, a group of black executives at Netflix that “represents an intentional focus from Netflix to talk authentically with the black audience,” the company’s director of brand and editorial, Maya Watson Banks, told The Los Angeles Times. “Strong Black Lead is relatable and real, always unapologetically black, and assumes context and knowledge so that content doesn’t need to be watered down.”
Many of the actors and creators involved with the spot helped spread the word on social media.
“So honored to be a part of this. To walk along side these artists. And to stand with @netflix @strongblacklead as they honor US,” Missick tweeted.
Watch the promo above.