By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — One of Black America’s lesser publicized, yet important figures is now getting his own bio. Bayard Rustin was a longtime active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, someone in the forefront who along with A. Phillip Randolph began working on what became the March on Washington back in 1943. Now his life and accomplishments will be highlighted in a Netflix film directed and co-written by “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” director George C. Wolfe, who now’s in the process of lining up its cast.
Colman Domingo will star as Rustin alongside Chris Rock, Glynn Turman and Audra McDonald as Ella Baker. It is a re-team for Domingo and Wolfe, as Domingo also starred in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” for Netflix. The project is produced by Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk) co-wrote with Wolfe.
The film’s working title is “Rustin.” It tells the story of a man who was charismatic and overcame an onslaught of obstacles as he helped alter the course of American history by organizing the 1963 March on Washington.
Executive producers for the project are Higher Ground Productions’ Mark R. Wright and Alex G. Scott. Producers are Bruce Cohen and Higher Ground’s Tonia Davis. This will be the first dramatized project and the second narrative project on Rustin. A documentary, “Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin,” premiered in 2003.
The Obamas’ Higher Ground has multiple projects in different stages of development at Netflix. They’ve already released such documentaries as “American Factory,” “Becoming,” and “Crip Camp.”