Colman Domingo cast as Bayard Rustin in ‘Rustin’ Netflix movie

Colman Domingo Bayard RustinColman Domingo will star in “Rustin,” the Netflix biography movie centered on trailblazing civil rights and gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, the Hollywood Reporter reported Tuesday.

Colman Domingo, 52, who identifies as gay and appeared in the summer horror film “Candyman,” is recognizable to many from his work on “Fear the Walking Dead.”

Colman Domingo shared the news on his Instagram page.

“Words cannot express how honored I am to portray this icon. Bayard Rustin is a personal hero,” Domingo posted  Tuesday. “To be directed by the genius George C. Wolfe again and to be heralded by The Obama’s Higher Ground and Netflix.

“We are about to get into some good trouble,” he said. “We have a fantastic cast and crew and I am ready. Let’s go. I’ve got the ancestors with me. Calling on Bayard’s great spirit.”

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Netflix announced earlier this year that the project was in development with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, High Ground.

The streaming giant also said that Wolfe (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) would be directing, and that he wrote the script with Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter behind Harvey Milk biopic “Milk.”

Rustin, who died in 1987, was a monumental and vital figure in the early civil rights movement in the mid-20th century. He practiced nonviolent resistance and participated in the Freedom Rides.

Rustin was the architect of Martin Luther King Jr’s 1963 March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs, the historic rally where King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Barack Obama awarded Rustin a Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2013.

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Rustin was arrested January 21, 1953, in Pasadena, and convicted of “vagrancy” for violating a morality offense that was often used to discriminate against and criminalize LGBTQ and black communities, but has been repealed.

At the time, homosexuality was not only still classified as a mental illness, but also illegal in many parts of the nation. Members of the LGBTQ community also were persecuted under various morality codes in many states, including California.

Rustin was arrested for having consensual sex with two white men in a parked car, but the white men were not arrested. After the arrest, Rustin was convicted, served 50 days in jail, and was forced to register as a sex offender.

Rustin was posthumously pardoned by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020 for the more than 70-year-old “vagrancy” conviction.

The Hollywood Reporter also mentioned three actors playing opposite Colman Domingo:

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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