BLACKFACE: the story or nobody is inspired by the life of Bert Williams (November 12, 1874 – March 4, 1922). Many don't know who he was, not to mention how prolific he became during his time.
Bert Williams was the first Black man to be regularly featured in a Broadway revue: the Ziegfeld Follies. He is credited with opening the door for other blacks (most notably lyricist Noble Sissle and composer Eubie Blake with their successful Broadway show, Shuffle Along, in 1921).
Bert Williams remains, to this day, the most famous black performer of pantomime. Although his movie appearances were brief, Williams, in 1910, became the first major Black star to be featured in a motion picture.
Smith, Eric Ledell. (1992). Bert Williams A Biography of the Pioneer Black Comedian. Jefferson, North Carolina: MacFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.