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Netflix Recreates ‘A Great Day in Harlem’ Photo and Video Featuring 47 Black Creatives

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Yesterday (6/24), Netflix unveiled a photo that reimagines the iconic 1958 photo known as “A Great Day in Harlem.” The black-and-white original featured 57 famous jazz musicians in front of a Harlem brownstone. It was taken by Art Kane for Esquire magazine; Kane himself has been quoted as calling the photo “the greatest picture of that era of musicians ever taken.”

Art Kane’s famous photo of jazz greats, titled “Harlem 1958”; approved for one-time use only. MUST CREDIT: Photograph by Art Kane – courtesy Art Kane Archive NOTE: this is a downsized low-res photo for web use

40-years later the photo was also re-created by XXL magazine titled “The Greatest Day In Hip-Hop History.” XXL asked acclaimed photographer Gordon Parks to shoot the tribute, featuring the same building on the same block, only with Hip-Hop stars.

Netflix’s version of the iconic photo is titled “A Great Day in Hollywood” and shot by Kwaku Alston, features 47 black actors and creatives behind more than 20 original Netflix shows, films, and documentaries that celebrate blackness and black storytelling on the streaming platform. These include Ava DuVernay, Spike Lee, Lena Waithe, Mike Colter, Nia Long, Laverne Cox, among many more.

The shows represented include Orange Is the New Black, Dear White People, Stranger Things, and 13th.

Along with the photo comes a short video, which premiered Sunday night and was directed by Lacey Duke, spotlighting some of the biggest names in the photo and underscoring the significance of the project. The video is narrated by Stranger Things’ very own Lucas, the 16-year-old Caleb McLaughlin.

“We stand up on every stage and every screen,” he says. “A day when black women are boldly the lead character, whether inmates or scholars. When not a genre, because there’s no one way to be black. We’re writing while black: nuanced and complex.”

“This is not a moment,” he adds. “This is a movement.”

Speaking on the process behind the project, Duke says, “It was a pretty magical couple of hours. 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 haha. I was just so happy to be a part of history.”

Watch the video at the top of the page and continue for a full list of the talent involved in this project.

Ajiona Alexus (13 Reasons Why)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage; Juanita)
Alisha Boe (13 Reasons Why)
Antoinette Robertson (Dear White People)
Antonique Smith (Luke Cage)
Ashley Blaine Featherson (Dear White People)
Ava DuVernay (13th, Central Park Five)
Brett Gray (On My Block)
Britney Young (GLOW)
Caleb McLaughlin (Stranger Things)
Chante Adams (Roxanne Roxanne)
Cheo Hodari Coker (Luke Cage)
Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black)
Dawn Porter (Bobby Kennedy for President)
DeRay Davis (How To Act Black)
Derek Luke (13 Reasons Why)
DeRon Horton (Dear White People)
Gabrielle Dennis (Luke Cage)
Hayley Law (Altered Carbon; Riverdale)
Justin Simien (Dear White People)
Justine Simmons (All About The Washingtons)
Kano (Top Boy)
Kat Graham (The Holiday Calendar; How It Ends)
Kia Stevens (GLOW)
Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black)
Lena Waithe (Master of None; Dear White People; Step Sisters)
Logan Browning (Dear White People)
Marlon Wayans (Naked; Woke-ish)
Marque Richardson (Dear White People; Step Sisters)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage)
Mustafa Shakir (Luke Cage)
Nia Long (Roxanne Roxanne, Dear White People)
Nia Jervier (Dear White People; Step Sisters)
Priah Ferguson (Stranger Things)
Quincy Brown (The Holiday Calendar)
Rapsody (Rapture)
Rev Run (All About The Washingtons)
Russell Hornsby (Seven Seconds)
Sacha Jenkins (Rapture)
Samantha Logan (13 Reasons Why)
Sierra Capri (On My Block)
Simone Missick (Luke Cage)
Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It)
Steven Silver (13 Reasons Why)
Sydelle Noel (GLOW)
Vaneza Oliveira (3%)
Yance Ford (Strong Island)