Netflix’s ‘A Great Day in Hollywood’ Shines a Spotlight on Strong Black Leads
Netflix is putting strong Black leads front and center in a new ad that first aired during Sunday’s BET Awards. The spot, “A Great Day in Hollywood,” was inspired by the iconic jazz portrait “A Great Day in Harlem,” which featured 57 jazz musicians, including legends such as Count Basie and Thelonious Monk. Netflix’s version of the photo showcases 47 Black actors and creatives from some of the streaming service’s many original series and films, in celebration of its new Strong Black Lead initiative.
“A Great Day in Hollywood” includes filmmakers Ava DuVernay and Spike Lee, Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe, and stars from Luke Cage and Orange Is the New Black, among others. Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin plays the role of narrator.
“We’re not a genre, because there’s no one way to be Black,” McLaughlin says in the video. “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.”
Strong Black Lead was created by Netflix executives in order to directly connect with Black audiences. “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,” Maya Watson Banks, the streamer’s director of brand and editorial, told The Los Angeles Times Monday.
Through various social media platforms (@StrongBlackLead), Netflix hopes to engage Black audiences with the content available to them starring or created by Black talent. “There’s an actual group of Strong Black Leads behind this work at Netflix, and it’s important that people see and feel that,” Watson Banks explained to the LA Times.
The full list of Strong Black Leads 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), Chante 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), Quincy Brown (The Holiday Calendar), Rapsody (Rapture), Rev Run (All About The Washingtons), Russell Hornsby (SevenSeconds), Sacha Jenkins (Rapture), Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why), Sierra Capri (On My Block), Simone Missick (Luke Cage), Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It), Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why), Sydelle Noel (GLOW), Vaneza Oliveira (3%), and Yance Ford (Strong Island).
What do you think of Netflix’s “A Great Day in Hollywood” ad? Let us know @BritandCo!
(photo via Kwaku Alston/Netflix)