Bayard Rustin is one of the most prolific and often ignored leaders in the gay rights movement. He worked alongside A. Phillip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement and worked tirelessly on social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Decades after his death, Colman Domingo is bringing Rustin to life for a new project with Netflix set to release in 2023.
The stories of queer people of color are something that has historically been missing from the entertainment industry. Too often, stories of queer love and success center around cis white gay men, and LGBTQ+ audiences have been looking for more diverse representation.
Bringing to light a story of an activist often overshadowed because he was openly gay is a step in that direction. The biopic is the latest Netflix production for Higher Ground Productions, founded by former U.S. president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama, as part of their deal.
Netflix viewers are eager to see the story of Rustin — and the first-look photos with Colman Domingo haven’t made the anticipation any easier. For too long, his story has been missing from the larger narrative of civil rights activism and queer liberation.
Rustin, who died in 1987 after a trip to Haiti to explore the possibility of democracy with an impending election, was a controversial figure due in part to his being openly gay. Sen. Strom Thurmon denounced him on the Senate floor before the 1963 March on Washington.
Pres. Obama posthumously bestowed a Presidential Medal of Freedom on Rustin in 2013.