Janelle Monáe is set to play the legendary jazz performer, French resistance agent, and civil rights activist Josephine Baker in an upcoming television series produced by A24.
Titled De La Resistance, the show centers around Baker’s life during the peak of her iconic career as an entertainer, as well as her involvement as a spy for the Allies during World War II. Monáe will produce the series under their company, Wondaland.
According to Deadline, Jennifer Yale, who has written for projects such as Legion, See, and Outlander is the series’ creator and showrunner. Dana Gills, Chuck Lightning, Mikael Moore, and Nate Wonder will serve as executive producers for Wondaland, along with Angela Gibbs. Damien Lewis – the author of the books The Flame of Resistance and Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy – will also co-executive produce the show, as well as research.
In a career spanning over five decades, Baker was revered by artists and intellectuals of the era due to her undeniable talent and dedication to human rights. In 1927 she became the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture and gained notoriety in the same year for her performance at the Un vent de folie. The St. Louis-born singer has also come to be remembered for her refusal to perform for segregated audiences in America, and her progressive lifestyle.
As an actor, Monáe previously starred in films such as Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Antebellum. The award-winning singer and songwriter is also slated to appear in the upcoming Netflix film Knives Out 2, with Daniel Craig. In addition to a stellar entertainment career, Monáe also added “author” to their repertoire, with the release of their first book The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories From Dirty Computer – which recently hit the New York Times bestseller list.