Re-Writing the Record: On Rustin, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Revival of Black Queer History

Faithe J Day
Momentum
Published in
9 min readFeb 1, 2024

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Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash

It is now the start of February, which marks the arrival of awards season. Following the Oscar nominations this week, many people are discussing the movie Rustin, which premiered on Netflix in November 2023. The movie tells the story of civil rights activist Bayard Rustin organizing the March on Washington. Rustin has also made film history because of Coleman Domingo’s Best Actor Oscar nomination for portraying the title character.

Numerous media outlets have highlighted that Coleman Domingo is the first Afro-Latino nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars; however, in the article “Colman Domingo, Jodie Foster make queer history in the Oscar Nominations,” Goldberry has also emphasized that this nomination is a significant moment in queer history. This season, Jodie Foster and Coleman Domingo’s nomination marks the first time in Oscar history that two openly queer actors playing queer characters are nominated simultaneously. And Domingo is the first openly gay Black man nominated for playing a Black gay man.

In addition to Oscar season, it is currently Black History Month, which has made me reflect on the relationship between Black History and Queer History. Specifically, I have been thinking about the representation of Black queer stories in art, media, and popular culture.

For many years, the media has not given the stories of Black queer people the attention they deserve. In academic spaces, scholars have also faced difficulties in studying the intersectional nature of Black queer stories. This difficulty is due to various challenges, leading to a need for more representation of these narratives. However, there has been a rise in the inclusion of previously ignored queer figures and…

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Faithe J Day
Momentum

Writer, Creator, and Educator. Millennial and Internet Expert. Learn more at https://fjday.com