“A Great Day in Hollywood”: Who’s who of Netflix’s ‘Strong Black Lead’ commercial
Last night, Netflix released a powerful and stirring commercial highlighting some of the incredibly talented black creatives working both in front of and behind the camera on many of the streaming giant’s originals. Titled “A Great Day in Hollywood”, the Lacey Duke directed segment assembles an impressive 47 Netflix Originals stars together to recreate Art Kane’s iconic photograph “A Great Day in Harlem”. The photo originally appeared in the January 1958 issue of Esquire and celebrated prominent jazz musicians of the time.
Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin narrates the spot and delivers a powerful message as he stands in the center of the 47-strong crowd. “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.” Watch the trailer below and then read through our who’s who of 18 of the most notable creators and stars featured in the commercial.
The first face shown in the commercial is that of visionary director DuVernay who directed the Oscar nominated Netflix Originals documentary 13th.
Shown hanging out on a stoop, the legendary director – and producer of the Netflix Originals show She’s Gotta Have It – is wearing his trademark spectacles along with a “Defend Brooklyn” patch on the arm of his denim jacket.
The multitalented writer, producer, director, and actor rose to stardom as Denise in Aziz Ansari’s Master of None on Netflix. Since then she’s also appeared in S2 of Dear White People as P. Ninny and enjoyed a supporting role in Steven Spielberg’s recent blockbuster Ready Player One.
Having rose to prominence as transgender inmate Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black, Cox has continued to star in a variety of TV shows and movies including Doubt, The Mindy Project, and Trudie Styler’s Freakshow and continues to do great work as an LGBTQI and black rights activist.
The charismatic actor portrays bulletproof Harlem hero Luke Cage in Cheo Hodari Coker’s Marvel Netflix series and was recently seen reprising his mysterious The Good Wife character Lemond Bishop in an episode of The Good Fight.
The Stranger Things star is given the stupendous honor of narrating the entire commercial, perhaps highlighting how important the voices of young black people are in society.
The Dear White People showrunner can be seen just behind Browning at the back of the group. Simien recently announced he’s still developing a satirical horror film by the name of Bad Hair that aims to examine the way in which black women are treated in society.
Browning depicts outspoken activist Samantha White in the Netflix Originals series based on Justin Simien’s hit indie movie.
A little in front of Colter in the group is the Dear White People actor who depicts beloved gay student Lionel Higgins in the Netflix Originals show.
Next to Simien in the back row is Richardson, who depicts “black Bill Gates in the making” Reggie Green from Dear White People.
The legendary actor and political activist is currently playing complex antihero Mariah Dillard in Luke Cage.
One of GLOW’s most underrated stars Young depicts wrestling expert Carmen “Machu Picchu” Wade in Jenji Cohen’s tough yet emotional feminist comedy.
You likely know Brooks best for her performance as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson in Orange is the New Black – a character who represents the heart of Litchfield Penitentiary. The actor has also starred in shows like Girls and Master of None since 2012.
If you’re an avid Riverdale fan, you’ll almost certainly know Law as Valerie Brown – one third of the woefully underused teen group Josie and the Pussycats. However, she more recently enjoyed a pivotal role opposite Joel Kinnaman (Suicide Squad) as Lizzie Elliot in the Netflix Originals adaptation of trippy sci-fi drama Altered Carbon.
Stevens is a wrestling veteran having been involved with a number of shows including WWE Raw, WWE Smackdown, and TNA Impact! Wrestling, making her a completely perfect choice as Tammé “Welfare Queen” Dawson in GLOW.
The actor portrays headstrong star Cherry Bang on GLOW, but you might also recognize her as Samanda Watson in Arrow and for her performance as Dora Milaje in Black Panther.
We almost didn’t recognize him behind those shades and that magnificently gregarious blazer, but you can find Wayans in the back right of the group. His Netflix comedy special Marlon Wayans: Woke-ish is currently available to stream.
The iconic character actor is perhaps best recognized for having portrayed Brandi in Boyz in the Hood and Will’s only real long-term girlfriend Lisa Wilkes in Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Long has enjoyed a varied and eclectic career and recently starred in Netflix Originals like Roxanne Roxanne and Dear White People.