​Press photo for 'Rustin,' Netlfix.
Press photo for 'Rustin,' Netlfix.

Colman Domingo Becomes Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin in Netflix 'Rustin'

Emmy-winner Colman Domingo portrays late civil rights activist Bayard Rustin in Netflix biopic, Rustin, which premieres November 17, 2023.

Actor Colman Domingo (Euphoria, Zola, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) takes the lead in the upcoming Netflix biopic, Rustin. The film retells the influential story of Bayard Rustin, an openly gay civil rights activist, who was one of the main organizers for the August 28, 1963 March on Washington. Arriving 60 years after the historical event, Rustin also stars Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Joy Randolph, Jeffrey Wright and Audra McDonald, with co-producer from Higher Ground’s Barack and Michelle Obama, and others.

A two-minute teaser for Rustin shows the titular activist urging Dr. Martin Luther King to lead the movement, also arranging demonstrations with young, Black civil rights demonstrators, who are confronted with opposition. One character, played by Wright, questions Rustin’s motives, saying that he "could derail the fight for racial justice in this country by a good 10 to 15 years." Eventually, Rustin co-led what the National Archives calls "the largest demonstration for human rights in United States history.”

RUSTIN | Official Teaser Trailer | Netflixwww.youtube.com

One person who sees the resounding power of Rustin is director George C. Wolfe, who last collaborated with Domingo on 2020’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

“He is a role model for what it means to be an American, what it means to daily, moment-to-moment, commit to democracy, commit to freedom, commit to possibility, commit to discovery, commit to passing on that which you know to other people,” Wolfe told Netflix’s Tudum.

A synopsis for Rustin calls the titular character an “architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington” who “challenged authority, never apologized for who he was, what he believed, or who he desired.”

"Rustin shines a long overdue spotlight on the extraordinary man who, alongside giants like the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Ella Baker, dared to imagine a different world, and inspired a movement in a march toward freedom," the synopsis adds.

Rustin begins playing in select theaters on November 3, ahead of its November 17 premiere on Netflix.