A biopic about gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin is set to come to Netflix later this year. Titled “Rustin”, Tony Award winner and director of “Ma Rainey Black Bottoms”, George C. Wolfe is set to direct. Academy Winner for “Milk”, another biopic about gay rights activist Harvey Milk, is being produced by Dustin Lance Black alongside Bruce Cohen, Academy Award winner for the movie “American Beauty”.
“Rustin” will be produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions agency, which have a slew of other movies coming to Netflix this year, titles including “Exit West”, “Satellite”, Tenzing” and “The Young Wife”. Riya Swaminathan and Tonia Davis will produce the film for the production company.
Bayard Rustin was an active participant in the civil rights movement, helping organize the March on Washington movement, freedom rides, and helped to strengthen Martin Luther King Jr’s leadership and taught him about the nonviolence approach of protesting. Because of his sexuality, at the time, Rustin was pushed to work behind the scenes of the movement. However, Rustin remained as a major influence on civil rights leaders.
Later on in the 1980s, once he publicly came out, he became a major leader in advocation for gay rights, such as working to bring the AIDS crisis to the attention of the NAACP.
After his death in 1987 he was praised by then President Ronald Reagan, in his words “(Rustin) never gave up on his conviction that minorities in America could and would succeed based on their individual merit”, and later in November 2013, was awarded the posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama.
Currently, no cast members have been named yet. We will continue to report as the story develops.