Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground productions are makinging a biopic of gay civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin for Netflix.
Rustin‘s screenplay was written by Dustin Lance Black who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Milk, about slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk. It will be helmed by gay, five-time Tony Award winner, George C. Wolfe who directed the Golden Globe-nominated Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Netflix.
No word on who is set to star as Rustin.
Rustin will tell the story of Bayard Rustin, the brilliant strategist, pacifist, and forward-thinking civil rights activist. In 1947 as a member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Rustin planned the “Journey of Reconciliation”, which was a model for the Freedom Rides of the 60’s.
He served as a mentor to Martin Luther King, Jr. in the practice of nonviolent civil resistance, and was an intellectual and organizational force behind the burgeoning civil rights movement during the 50s and 60s.
The charismatic Rustin earned a living as a spiritual singer in nightclubs of NYC. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of ’64 and the Voting Rights Act of ’65, his talents and tireless work were transferred to human rights and the early Gay Rights Movement.
His life as an openly gay Black man put him at odds with the cultural norms of the day and left him either working behind the scenes or outside of the movement altogether for long stretches of time.
In the 70s and 80s he worked as a human rights and election monitor for Freedom House and testified on behalf of New York State’s Gay Rights Bill.