A24 is producing a new television series about iconic Black entertainer Josephine Baker and her role as a freedom fighter against the Nazis. It’s called De La Resistance, and according to Deadline, the show has already found its star in a burgeoning modern icon, Janelle Monae. Monae will portray Baker as the show follows her exploits as a spy in the French resistance during World War II, as well as her adventures as one of the most celebrated performers of the early 20th century.
Monae is also billed as a producer for the series via her Wondaland Pictures imprint, through which the singer has a first-look production deal with Universal Pictures. Monae’s previous acting credits include roles in Harriet, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight, and will also appear in the upcoming sequel to Knives Out. Monae’s new book, Memory Librarian, is also out now. The showrunner is Jennifer Yale, who previously worked on outstanding television dramas such as See, Outlander, and Underground.
They’ve certainly chosen an intriguing figure, whose real-life exploits sound like excellent fodder for a film or TV series. After refusing to perform to segregated audiences in the US, Baker emigrated to Paris, where her racy revue became a worldwide phenomenon and left behind some truly iconic imagery (which Monae recently paid homage to at the 2022 Met Gala). After the Nazis occupied France, Baker became a spy for the Allies, earning The National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest French order of merit, both military and civil.