So powerful! Netflix released an ad during the 2018 BET Awards celebrating their wide range of black talent both in front of and behind the camera. We’ve got the promo.
While people of color have been fighting for juicy roles on network TV for years, the emergence of streaming services and the much more diverse content they provide viewers is something to celebrate. Netflix did just that on June 24, with a promo airing during the 2018 BET Awards that showed their commitment to an incredible range of talent that included actors, actresses, directors, writers and other storytellers. The spot titled “A Great Day in Hollywood” begins, “This is a new day. Built from the ground broken by legends,” Stranger Things’ young star Caleb McLaughlin narrates as directors Ava Duvernay and Spike Lee are pictured. Netflix offered Ava an unprecedented deal to make any work she pleases with them in 2016, and she directed the 2017 documentary 13th for the network. Spike resurrected his classic 1986 movie She’s Gotta Have It as a series for Netflix.
Caleb continues, “A day for our generation to see untold experiences of our blackness. An unlimited range of our identity,” as actress Laverne Cox and Black Panther star Lena Waithe light up the screen. Laverne became the first prominent transgender star in a leading role with Orange is the New Black while Lena won a 2017 Emmy for writing on Masters Of None.
“Playing kings and queens of our neighborhoods. Defeating larger than life forces trying to flip our world upside down. We stand up, on every stage and every screen. A day when black women are boldly the lead character, whether inmates or scholars. We’re not a genre, because there’s no one way to be black,” Caleb continues.
“We’re writing while black, nuanced and complex, resilient and strong,” the spot continues. “This is not a moment. This is a movement,” it ends. The camera pulls back to show the wide range of black stars that work with Netflix, with the many above mentioned talents as well as Juanita‘s Alfre Woodard, 13 Reason’s Why‘s Derek Luke and Luke Cage star Mike Colter, among others. It’s powerful stuff and a great reminder of why we need to value the diversity of voices in storytelling, from stars to showrunners to writers.