Netflix Recreated a Historic Photo to Showcase the Diversity and Creativity of Black Creators

Featuring Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee, Lena Waithe and more

Forty-seven Netflix actors and creators—including Lena Waithe, Laverne Cox, Spike Lee, Alfre Woodard and Ava DuVernay— gathered for an epic photo. Kwaku Alston/Netflix
Headshot of Katie Richards

Netflix dropped an empowering new campaign during tonight’s BET Awards, celebrating the diversity of its black creators and actors, and championing all of the incredible creativity that each actor, director or producer has shared with the world.

The streaming service’s latest campaign, “A Great Day in Hollywood,” includes a 60-second TV spot directed by Lacey Duke and an incredible photograph by Kwaku Alston featuring 47 black creators and actors who work with Netflix on more than 20 different productions.

Stranger Things actor Caleb McLaughlin narrates the spot, and alludes to the versatility of black creativity and the limitless roles that members of the African-American community can both create and play.

“We’re not a genre because there’s no one way to be black,” McLaughlin says in the ad. “We’re writing while black. Nuanced and complex. Resilient and strong.”

Shooting the spot “was a pretty magical couple of hours,” director Lacey Duke said in a statement. “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!”

The portrait (see above) is modeled after an historic, black and white photograph, titled “A Great Day in Harlem,” that dates back to 1958. That image was taken in front of a Harlem brownstone and features 57 black jazz musicians, including Lester Young, Buck Clayton and Coleman Hawkins.

Over the years, others have created their own homages to “A Great Day in Harlem,” including XXL magazine’s “A Great Day in Hip Hop” portrait from 1998 and a 2008 rendition called “A Great Day in Paris.”

Last year Netflix ran a similar message of black empowerment during the BET Awards, with the “It’s About Time” campaign. That 60-second ad featured clips of black actors from Netflix shows including Master of None and Orange is the New Black.  This new ad drops just a few days after Netflix announced it had fired its chief communication officer, Jonathan Friedland, for using racial slurs.

Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix
Courtesy of Netflix

Here is the full list of talent featured in Netflix’s “A Great Day in Hollywood” campaign:

  • Ava DuVernay (13th, Central Park Five)
  • Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It)
  • Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage; Juanita)
  • Gabrielle Dennis (Luke Cage)
  • Simone Missick (Luke Cage)
  • Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage)
  • Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
  • Antonique Smith (Luke Cage)
  • Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage)
  • Vaneza Oliveria (3%)
  • Russell Hornsby (Seven Seconds)
  • Priah Ferguson (Stranger Things)
  • Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things)
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None, Dear White People, Step Sisters)
  • Chante Adams (Roxanne Roxanne)
  • Nia Long (Roxanne Roxanne, Dear White People)
  • Justin Simien (Dear White People)
  • Logan Browning (Dear White People)
  • Nia Jervier (Dear White People, Step Sisters)
  • Antoinette Robertson (Dear White People)
  • DeRon Horton (Dear White People)
  • Ashley Blaine Featherson (Dear White People)
  • Marque Richardson (Dear White People, Step Sisters)
  • Hayley Law (Altered Carbon, Riverdale)
  • Rev Run (All About The Washingtons)
  • Justine Simmons (All About The Washingtons)
  • Dawn Porter (Bobby Kennedy for President)
  • Kat Graham (The Holiday Calendar, How It Ends)
  • Quincy Brown (The Holiday Calendar)
  • Sydelle Noel (GLOW)
  • Britney Young (GLOW)
  • Kia Stevens (GLOW)
  • DeRay Davis (How To Act Black)
  • Sierra Capri (On My Block)
  • Brett Gray (On My Block)
  • Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black)
  • Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black)
  • Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why)
  • Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why)
  • Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why)
  • Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why)
  • Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why)
  • Yance Ford (Strong Island)
  • Kano (Top Boy)
  • Marlon Wayans (Naked, Woke-ish)
  • Rapsody (Rapture)
  • Sacha Jenkins (Rapture)

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@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.