Colman Domingo's Struggle with Hollywood Bias



by NOUMAN RASOOL

Colman Domingo's Struggle with Hollywood Bias
© Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Colman Domingo, the celebrated actor now generating Oscar buzz for his performance in Netflix's "Rustin," recently shared a candid reflection on the struggles that nearly led him to abandon his acting career. Despite his current success, including a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal in "Rustin," Domingo's journey to stardom was fraught with challenges, particularly a pivotal moment in 2014 that almost derailed his aspirations.

At that time, Domingo, known for his Tony-nominated stage work, faced an uphill battle breaking into the screen industry, often auditioning for minor roles with less than five lines. A key turning point came with a failed audition for HBO's acclaimed series "Boardwalk Empire." Domingo, then 54, auditioned for the role of a maître d' in a Black-owned nightclub, impressing producers with his singing and dancing talents.

Convinced that this role would be his big break, Domingo faced a heartbreaking setback. According to The New York Times, historical accuracy became a barrier, as researchers on the show noted that maître d's in that era were typically light-skinned, a criterion Domingo did not meet.

This rejection left him questioning his future in acting, as he confided to his agent, "I can't take it anymore, I think this is going to kill me." Despite this difficult period, Domingo's resilience and talent eventually propelled him to Hollywood prominence.

His recent filmography includes notable performances in "If Beale Street Could Talk" (2018) alongside Regina King, "Zola," and "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (2020) with Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Additionally, Domingo earned an Emmy for his guest role in "Euphoria."

Domingo's Inspiring Journey

In "Rustin," Domingo brings to life Bayard Rustin, an openly gay activist and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr., showcasing the struggles against racism and homophobia.

This role has placed him in the running for a Golden Globe for Best Actor, competing against stars like Bradley Cooper, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Cillian Murphy. Looking ahead, Domingo's fans can anticipate his appearance in "The Colour Purple," a musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s novel, produced by Oprah Winfrey and featuring a star-studded cast.

Domingo's journey, marked by perseverance and exceptional talent, continues to inspire and captivate audiences worldwide.

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