During the BET Awards, Netflix premiered a TV spot called “A Great Day in Hollywood” promoting its Black creator-driven projects such as “Luke Cage” and “Dear White People,” as well as stars and show creators that have worked on original shows for the streaming service.
While the spot was conceived and created months ago by Netflix’s Strong Black Lead Team, the premiere comes with some weird timing, as the company fired its chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland on Friday for “descriptive use of the N-word on at least two occasions,” according to an employee memo sent out by CEO Reed Hastings. An individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap that the incident had occurred on multiple occasions and that several Netflix employees filed complaints.
The spot was inspired by a famous photo taken 60 years ago called “A Great Day in Harlem,” which assembled dozens of the Harlem jazz scene’s most famous musicians. For the TV spot, director Lacey Duke and photographer Kwaku Alston recreated the photo with 47 stars, directors and creators of Netflix originals, including “13th” director Ava DuVernay, “Luke Cage” showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and stars Mike Colter and Alfre Woodard, “She’s Gotta Have It” creator Spike Lee, and “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox.
“We’re not a genre because there’s no one way to be black,” says narrator and “Stranger Things” star Caleb McLaughlin. “This is not a moment. This is a movement. We are Strong Black Leads. Today is a great day in Hollywood.”
Strong Black Lead, a new initiative by Netflix, will host live events and social media promotions aimed towards the streaming service’s Black audience. The initiative will feature Netflix originals created by Black directors and showrunners, as well as Black stars from other shows like “GLOW” and “13 Reasons Why.”
Watch the spot in the clip above.