Janelle Monaé to Play French Dancer, Spy Josephine Baker in New Series

Janelle Monaé to Play French Dancer, Spy Josephine Baker in New Series

Janelle Monaé will return to your screen as legendary dancer, activist and spy Josephine Baker.

According to an exclusive report from Deadline, the eight-time Grammy winner is set to play the French icon in a new television series called De La Resistance. Based on Damien Lewis' new book, The Flame Of Resistance: American Beauty, French Hero, British Spy, the show will focus on Baker's career as one of Europe's biggest entertainers.

Born in St. Louis around the turn of the century, Baker catapulted to international superstardom after her famous performance of the danse sauvage, in which she only wore a pearl necklace and banana skirt. Later, she went on to become the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture with 1927's Siren of the Tropics, before acting as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II. Her celebrity status meant she could gather intel on the Axis powers while performing for the enemy and report the information back to French military officials, which led to her receiving several honors from French President Charles de Gaulle.

Upon her return to the United States, Baker became an active member in the Civil Rights Movement, protesting discrimination and segregation by forcing club owners to integrate her audiences and speaking about her experience as a Black woman on both continents at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

With such a fascinating story, it's easy to see why De La Resistance is currently being fought over by multiple streamers. But while we're not sure when or where it'll be released, we do know that Monaé considers Baker her "hero" and will be producing the series via her own Wondaland Productions alongside A24, showrunner Jennifer Yale and Lewis, who will serve as co-executive producer and researcher.

Read Deadline's full report here.

Photo via Getty / Dimitrios Kambouris