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Janelle Monáe‘s next role will be her most legendary to date.
The singer, actor and recent best-selling author has been tapped to star as trailblazing entertainer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker in an upcoming A24 TV series.
“De La Resistance,” created and produced by Jennifer Yale, will center on Baker’s work as an international superstar, who served as a spy during the French resistance in World War II, according to Deadline.
Monáe, 36, referred to Baker, who died in 1975 at age 68, as her “hero” on Twitter on Wednesday and described the role as “a dream finally coming to life.”
From the slums of St. Louis, Baker was a chanteuse and show-woman who attained international fame when she became the Toast of Europe during the 1920s and 1930s. Famed writer Ernest Hemingway referred to her as “the most sensational woman anybody ever saw. Or ever will.”
Considered the first “diva” of the 20th century, she laid the foundation for many female entertainers that came in her wake with her outlandish stage persona and jaw-dropping fashion sensibility. Her infamous banana costume became iconic and is still replicated a century later. While Baker is considered the first Black woman to star in a motion picture, the 1927 silent film “Siren of the Tropics,” offstage she was a humanitarian and an activist.
Her life story has drawn interests from Hollywood over the years.
Diana Ross reportedly had the rights to bring Baker’s story to the screen during the 1980s.
In 1991, Lynn Whitfield won the outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or a special Emmy Award for the acclaimed HBO biopic “The Josephine Baker Story.”
R&B/Dance diva Deborah Cox portrayed Baker in a staged musical, which premiered in Sarasota, Fla., in 2016.
In 2021, Baker was the first Black woman and one of the very few foreign-born figures inducted into France’s Panthéon mausoleum.
Monáe has carved out an impressive acting career since first receiving high marks for her feature film debut in the Academy Award winning film “Moonlight.” She followed up that performance in the biographical blockbuster “Hidden Figures,” portraying groundbreaking NASA mathematician Mary Jackson.
The “Tightrope” singer also starred in “Harriet,” “The Glorias” and fronted the 2020 terror suspense “Antebellum.”
Monáe will produce “De La Resistance” through her Wondaland production company, Deadline revealed.
Best-selling author Damien Lewis, whose upcoming book “Agent Josephine: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy” will be released in July, has also been attached to the series as an executive producer and researcher.