Two days after firing public relations chief Jonathan Friedland for using the n-word on multiple occasions in the workplace, Netflix aired a new commercial last night for their Strong Black Lead initiative. The spot, in the works for months, features the streaming platform’s slate of black creators and talent in a callback to the famous 1958 photograph “A Great Day In Harlem,” featuring a collection of the day’s leading jazz musicians.
Featuring people like 13th‘s Ava DuVernay, She’s Gotta Have It‘s Spike Lee and Master of None‘s Lena Waithe, the ad is a powerful assertion of black voices on the platform. Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin narrates:
This is a new day built from the ground broken by legends, a day for our generation to see untold experiences of our blackness representing a limitless range of identity, playing kings and queens of our neighborhoods, defeating larger than life forces trying to flip our world upside down. 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.
Strong Black Lead began this year at Netflix. It combines social media efforts and live events to connect black audiences and work to portray authentic black stories. Shows like Dear White People, Luke Cage and She’s Gotta Have It are involved for their black creators, while other shows, like GLOW, which elevates black voices, partner as well.