Netflix’s Powerful Strong Black Lead Commercial Was Inspired By a Classic Esquire Photo

“A Great Day in Hollywood” gathered 47 creatives to celebrate the streaming service’s commitment to diverse and inclusive storytelling.

Kwaku Alston/Netflix

Tonight during the BET Awards, Netflix released a powerful and stirring clip that highlights the black creatives that work both in front and behind the camera on its many original shows and films.

Directed by Lacey Duke, “A Great Day in Hollywood” assembled 47 individuals—including Ava DuVernay, Mike Colter, Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Alfre Woodard, Marlon Wayans, Nia Long, Danielle Brooks, and Spike Lee—to recreate Art Kane’s classic photo “A Great Day in Harlem,” which originally appeared in the January 1958 issue of Esquire.

Art Kane

“This is a new day, built from the ground broken by legends—a day for our generation to see untold experiences of our blackness,” Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin says in the spot. “We’re not a genre because there’s no one way to be black. We’re writing while black. Nuanced and complex; resilient and strong. This is not a moment. This is a movement. We are strong black leads. Today is a great day in Hollywood.”

“It was a pretty magical couple of hours,” Lacy Duke says of the shoot. “All these amazingly talented, beautiful individuals in one space being supportive and just looking stunning together, all here to pull off this one take wonder! Alfre Woodard even lead everyone in an epic rendition of ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ before we started shooting. It was beautiful, and in a flash it was over. It was probably the most overwhelming two hours of my career. I was just so happy to be a part of history.”

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