Black Excellence Is the Focus of Netflix's New Ad
On Sunday, June 24th, 2018, Netflix released an advertisement focused on celebrating over 40 black actors, directors, and creatives. The project, called "A Great Day In Hollywood," is a part of Netflix's "Strong Black Lead" initiative, which is led by the company's Black executives.
The black artists featured in the photo are part of more than 20 Netflix shows. Inspired by an iconic 1958 photograph, “A Great Day in Harlem,” which featured 57 jazz legends, the 2018 shoot was taken on a backlot in Hollywood that resembled a space in Harlem. The ad was directed by Lacey Duke and photographed by Kwaku Alston. Duke wanted to do more than just a re-creation of the photo, she wanted to “capture the spirit of black Hollywood.”
“I just figured that the best way to highlight this movement of black excellence in TV and film would be to do it in secured Hollywood spaces that have historically excluded black talent and creatives,” Duke said. The ad features “Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin narrating as the camera pans across powerful black leaders in Hollywood such as Lena Waithe, Spike Lee, Laverne Cox, and more.
“A Day for our generation to see untold experiences of our Blackness,” McLaughlin proudly states in the commercial. "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." Aiming to showcase the diverse spectrum of genres that black creatives occupy, the ad showcased black talent from 20-plus Netflix Original films, shows, and documentaries.
In the words of Duke, “It was just a feel-good black vibe—it felt like history was being made.” In a time where positive representation of people of color and diversity is more necessary than ever, this advertisement feels right on the mark.