On Friday, Netflix's chief communications officer Jonathan Friedland was "let go of" on account of his "descriptive use of the N-word", showing "low racial awareness and sensitivity". Just two days after the headline-grabbing move, the streamer has debuted a powerful and touching TV spot, drawing attention to the "strong black leads" of Netflix and trying to eradicate the stereotype.
“This is a new day built from the ground broken by legends," Stranger Things star Caleb McLaughlin's voice fills the background as a glimpse of some of the prominent black talents working with Netflix is unveiled. "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," concludes McLaughlin.
Directed by Lacey Duke, the stirring video that was surprisingly unveiled during Sunday night's BET Awards had McLaughlin at the center of all attention, surrounded by a host of black stars who are working across Netflix's multiple shows and projects.
From 13th's Ava DuVernay, to Orange Is the New Black's Laverne Cox, Mike Colter, Lena Waithe, Alfre Woodard, Marlon Wayans, Nia Long, Danielle Brooks, and Spike Lee, a total of 47 Netflix talents joined hands to drive home the message of racial sensitivity with the latest commercial.
Interestingly, the inspiration behind the statement ad video happens to be an iconic photo, "A Great Day in Harlem", taken some 60 years ago by Art Kane. The picture was debuted in the January 1958 edition of the Esquire magazine. Some six decades later, the picture still finds relevance in the latest Netflix spot.
"It was a pretty magical couple of hours," Duke, the director of the video said about working on the commercial.
"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," Duke added.