Not only have we barely scratched the surface of films about Black historical figures in Hollywood, but we’ve also barely scratched that same surface when it comes to theatrical plays.
With that said, one of history’s most overlooked Black American historical figures is finally getting their just due.
Bayard: A New Musical in Concert, a new musical set to highlight the life of gay rights activist Bayard Rustin, is set to premiere at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City on June 17.
Per Playbill, the show was produced and created by the talented duo of Richard Allen and Taran Gray. Bayard will star Anthony Chatmon II, former Hamilton star Deon’te Goodman and Scott Redmond. The musical will blend elements of contemporary musical theater, jazz and pop music for the musical score.
Born in West Chester, Pennsylvania on March 17, 1912, Bayard Rustin would go on to become one of the most prominent activists in the fight for both civil rights and gay rights.
As an openly gay Black Male, Rustin faced discrimination from both sides of the aisles due to his race and sexuality. Rustin, who died in 1987 at the age of 75, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2013.
In 1963, what would become known as the most iconic march in civil rights history, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was still a relatively new idea without the right person to organize it. Rustin was selected by leaders of the movement to get the march on its feet. However, as an openly gay Black man during the height of the civil rights movement and the burgeoning fight for gay rights, life would not come easy.
Tickets and information regarding Bayard: A New Musical in Concert are available at 54Below.com.
Photo by Santiago Felipe/Getty Images, Allan Baum/New York Times Co./Getty Images