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Colman Domingo Lands His First Star Role as Hidden Civil Rights Hero Bayard Rustin on Netflix

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

TV & Film | Exclusive Trailer

Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Netflix Movie 'Rustin"
Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in Netflix Movie 'Rustin"

When we think of the Civil Rights Movement, oftentimes figures like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, or Malcolm X come to mind. Bayard Rustin, a hidden hero, will be brought to the forefront by Colman Domingo in Netflix’s upcoming biographical feature film. ‘Rustin’ tells the story of the fight to uproot racial injustice and homophobia, through the lenses of a visionary who fought for the freedom of others, at the expense of his own self-expression.

The biopic ‘Rustin’ premieres on Netflix on November 17th, with Colman Domingo starring as the overlooked architect of the March on Washington. Directed by five-time Tony Award winner George C. Wolfe, he and Domingo reunite on screen once again; their last production together being "Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom".

Courtesy of Netflix - 'Rustin'

While biopic casting is typically attributed to features and sometimes skill sets, Bayard Rustin and Colman Domingo are coincidentally both black, openly gay males. Moreover, their careers and endeavors have mostly lived in the background— until now. ‘Rustin’ will be Colman Domingo’s first leading role in a feature film.

Courtesy of Netflix

The film will be executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s media production company Higher Ground, and will also feature Chris Rock, Glynn Truman , Aml Ameen, and several others.

“He was this big thinker and an incredible organizer, and he was influential to not only Dr. King, but all these other young people as well”, Domingo shared with Vanity Fair.

“I think it’s part of my mission to make sure that hopefully, come this fall, there will never be that question again, who Bayard Rustin was.”

Rustin was a key political organizer within the NAACP, SCLC, and ultimately became a direct advisor to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Domingo has achieved much of his theatrical recognition through breakout roles in musicals supporting roles like that of ‘Zola’, ‘The Scottsboro Boys’, and ‘Euphoria’. Now, at age 53, he is the star of the show.

History very frequently is like a Hollywood movie,” Wolfe said via Vanity Fair.

“Whoever has the best agent gets the best billing. And who doesn’t gets tossed aside.” He’s quick to point out that Dr. King was “a phenomenon”—but so was Bayard Rustin, who was often forced to take a back seat in the civil rights movement.

“We’re trained to see the star and not see anything else.”

View more of Netflix’s first-look photos & watch the Official Full-Length Trailer below:


Rustin | Official Trailer (Oct. 19, 2023)


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