Janelle Monáe to play trailblazing bisexual performer and WWII spy Josephine Baker in new series

Janelle Monáe is set to play bisexual jazz performer, civil rights activist and WWII French resistance spy Josephine Baker in a powerful new TV series.

Produced by American film studio A24, De La Resistance will tell the story of how Baker played a vital role in defeating Nazi forces. 

Born in St Louis, US, she left for Europe aged 19. Throughout the 1920s, she was one of the most renowned entertainers in Paris, and was known as both a fashion icon and a fierce advocate for equality, having refused to perform for segregated audiences in the US. 

She became the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture when she joined the cast of 1927 silent film, Siren Of The Tropics.

Following the outbreak of WWII, she became active in the French resistance, and was awarded multiple honours by French leader General Charles de Gaulle.

Baker passed away in 1975, and was the first American woman known to have French military honours at her funeral.

Janelle Monáe will play Baker in De La Resistance and will also act as the show’s producer via their own studio, Wondaland Pictures. Jennifer Yale is the show’s creator.

Following the announcement, Monáe described Baker as their personal “hero”, and said that to play her in De La Resistance is a “dream finally coming to life”. 

Monáe dropped hints about her new role at the 2022 Met Gala, which saw the Moonlight actor steal the show in a stunning bejewelled gown which was supposedly inspired by Baker’s glamorous attire, according to Deadline

Janelle Monáe recently came out as non-binary.

Appearing in conversation with Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith and Adrienne Banfield Norris on their Facebook Watch show, Red Table Talk, The Hidden Figures actor said they “don’t see themselves as a woman”, adding: “I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything that I am. Beyond the binary.”

It has not yet been confirmed where De La Resistance will be available to stream, or when it will be released.