Eight-time Grammy nominee Janelle Monae is slated to star as the iconic Josephine Baker in the A24 TV series, “De La Resistance,” Deadline reports.
The drama will trace Baker's journey as one of the world’s most glamorous and barrier-breaking entertainers of the era and her role as "a spy for the Allies during the French resistance helping defeat the Nazis during World War II," according to the report.
Monáe will produce the series under her Wondaland imprint and considers Baker as one of her idols. At this week’s Met Gala, she paid tribute to the icon, who was also known as “Black Venus” and the “Creole Goddess,” with her stunning crystal-embellished gown.
Baker, who spent most of her career in Europe, became the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture: the 1927 silent film, Siren Of The Tropics. She became famous for her “banana skirt” dance routines and thrilled audiences at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees and later, at the Folies Bergere in Paris. In 1937, she officially became a French citizen.
Upon returning to the U.S., Baker refused to perform before segregated audiences. She was an active participant in the Civil Rights Movement and was a speaker at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
As EBONY previously reported, Baker was honored with a Panthéon burial in Paris last year and was just the sixth woman to be entered into the Panthéon where Marie Curie, the French philosopher Voltaire, writer Victor Hugo, and other French historical figures are memorialized.
A24, which produced Moonlight and Everything Everywhere All At Once, is currently in negotiations with several streamers who are seeking the rights to the project.
Previously, Monaé starred in Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Harriet. She’s also co-starring in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 2. Her new novel, The Memory Librarian, recently debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list.