Josephine/The Last Dance

On February 12, 2020, it was reported that the remarkable story of Josephine Baker, one of the most influential female entertainers of the 20th century, will be the subject of Josephine, a limited drama series in development at ABC Signature, with Ruth Negga attached to star as the legendary Jazz Age performer and civil rights activist.  The series will take a raw and unflinching look at the force of nature that was Josephine Baker. From international superstar and decorated WWII spy, to civil rights activist and flawed mother, Josephine delves into  the raw talent, sexual fluidity, struggles and bold life of an icon.  In addition to playing the leading role, Negga will also serve as an executive producer.  Written by Dee Harris-Lawrence (All Rise) the series will also be executive produced by Harris-Lawrence, and LeBron James’ The Springhill Company.  Millicent Shelton is directing.

Another biopic about the life of Josephine Baker was previously announced.  On December 16 2019, Deadline reported that Paula Patton had optioned film and television rights to Josephine Baker’s Last Dance, a novel by Sherry Jones, with the intention of starring in and producing an adaptation.  There have been no updates regarding the status of this project.

Born in Missouri in 1906 and started performing at the age of 15 appearing in vaudeville shows and chorus lines.  At 19, she moved to France and immediately found success as one of Europe’s most popular and highest-paid performers. Early on, she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. She earned nicknames like “Black Venus” and “Black Pearl.”

Baker worked for the French Resistance during World War II, and during the 1950s and ’60s devoted herself to fighting segregation and racism in the United States.  She refused to perform in front of segregated audiences and had an active role in the civil rights movement. Just two years after making a comeback to the stage, Baker died of a cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1975, and was buried with military honors.

 In 1991 Lynn Whitfield portrayed Baker in the HBO biopic, The Josephine Baker Story for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special, becoming the first Black actress to win the category.  Source(s):  MSN; mxdwn.com.  Photo Sources:  MSN; blackculturenews.com; IMDB; Wikipedia.