Janelle Monáe singing

Things We Saw Today: Janelle Monáe to Play Josephine Baker for A24 Adaptation

I'm not mad, let them come.

Deadline reported that streamers are fighting to get their hands on the latest Josephine Baker series, De La Resistance. The A24 production has Janelle Monáe set to play the famous performer, WW2 spy, and civil rights icon. Not that they are on the same level (I did say she was a spy), but Monáe’s also proven themself to be a formidable person of the moment as a civil rights activist, performer, and writer. Co-producing is Monáe and their team under the Wondaland collective. This includes Chuck Lightening, Mikael Moore, Nate Wonder, and Dana Gills executive producing. Damien Lewis, author of the book The Flame of Resistance: American Beauty, French Hero. British Spy., will serve as co-executive producer and researcher.

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As many have pointed out, this is the third announcement in the last four years that someone is to play Baker. In 2019, The Hollywood Reported published that Paula Patton was producing and starring in a drama series based on the book Josephine Baker’s Last Dance by Sherry Jones. Then, Deadline reported Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga (best known for Preacher and Passing) signed on to play her in a limited series.

I’m not even upset because Baker is full of stories and actions that deliberately coexist (and push against) many moments in mid-20th century history. With these actresses all playing her, we get to see different facets of her life (hopefully). They don’t all have to be beginning-to-end of life biopics. Each actress has the range to play various aspects of her life, but I’d especially love to see Negga portray Baker over an extended period of time.

One of the most frustrating parts of Cynthia Erivo’s Harriet is that no matter whether it was good or bad (it was terrible), we will likely only get one big-budget depiction of her. Realistically, at least one of these three depictions should be amazing. In the (good) chance all of them are, well, the more, the merrier.

(via Deadline, featured image: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Here are some other bits of news we saw today:

  • Speaking of Black excellence, actress Viola Davis is in talks to come back as Amanda Waller for a Peacemaker spinoff. (Variety)
  • Starbucks not so slyly tries to dissuade unionization by offering to raise wages. (KAKE-ABC)
  • SIX: LIVE ON OPENING NIGHT (Broadway, not West End) will be available to stream as of May 6. (Broadway World)
  • Tracing the story of the three Civil Rights workers who disappeared in the summer of 1964. (The Atlantic)
  • Add these places where Star Wars was filmed to your list of places to visit. (National Geographic)
  • Former Nintendo of America president head wishes he could put NFTs in Animal Crossing. (Kotaku)

We saw this and so much more! What did you see out there today? Let us know in the comments below!

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Author
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.