Netflix assembled 47 black creatives to reimagine the iconic 1958 photo “A Great Day in Harlem” as a way to celebrate diversity in television.
The streamer posted the photo “A Great Day in Hollywood,” followed by a video that debuted during the BET Awards, featuring talent from both in front of and behind the camera, representing more than 20 original shows, movies and documentaries. They came together to recreate the famous image of 57 important jazz musicians, taken in front of a Harlem brownstone and shot by Art Kane for Esquire magazine.
Netflix’s version includes talent such as Ava DuVernay, Laverne Cox, Spike Lee, Lena Waithe, Mike Colter, Nia Long and 16-year-old Caleb McLaughlin, of Stranger Things, who narrated the spot.
“We stand up on every stage and every screen,” he says. “A day when black women are boldly the lead character, whether inmates or scholars. We’re not a genre, because there’s no one way to be black. We’re writing while black; nuanced and complex.”
“This is not a moment,” he adds. “This is a movement.”
The photo was taken by Kwaku Alston, and the video was directed by Lacey Duke.
The timing comes days after Netflix fired its communication chief Jonathan Friedland for saying the N-word at least twice while at work.
“Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” Friedland said, in part, in a statement addressing his departure.
“A Great Day in Hollywood” highlights Netflix’s ‘Strong Black Lead’ initiative to develop black talent for its shows.
“This is a new day, built from the ground broken by legends,” says McLaughlin. A day for our generation to see untold experiences of our blackness.”
“A Great Day in Hollywood” talent includes:
Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage, Juanita)
Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why)
Antoinette Robertson (Dear White People)
Antonique Smith (Luke Cage)
Ashley Blaine Featherson (Dear White People)
Ava DuVernay (13th, Central Park Five)
Brett Gray (On My Block)
Britney Young (GLOW)
Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things)
Chanté Adams (Roxanne Roxanne)
Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage)
Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black)
Dawn Porter (Bobby Kennedy for President)
DeRay Davis (How to Act Black)
Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why)
DeRon Horton (Dear White People)
Gabrielle Dennis (Luke Cage)
Hayley Law (Altered Carbon, Riverdale)
Justin Simien (Dear White People)
Justine Simmons (All About the Washingtons)
Kano (Top Boy)
Kat Graham (The Holiday Calendar, How It Ends)
Kia Stevens (GLOW)
Laverne Cox (Orange Is the New Black)
Lena Waithe (Master of None, Dear White People, Step Sisters)
Logan Browning (Dear White People)
Marlon Wayans (Naked, Woke-ish)
Marque Richardson (Dear White People, Step Sisters)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage)
Nia Long (Roxanne Roxanne, Dear White People)
Nia Jervier (Dear White People, Step Sisters)
Priah Ferguson (Stranger Things)