American singer-songwriter and actress Janelle Monáe has joined the cast of Harriet Tubman’s upcoming biopic.
She will star alongside Cynthia Erivo, who plays the iconic abolitionist and political activist. The film will follow her escape from slavery and heroism during the pre-Civil War era. Janelle’s role is currently unknown.
Other cast members include Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, Jennifer Nettles, Clarke Peters, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Zackary Momoh, Deborah Ayorinde, and Vondie Curtis-Hall.
The film will be directed by Kasi Lemmons with a screenplay co-written with Gregory Allen Howard.
The Grammy nominated performer has previously starred in Moonlight and Hidden Pictures, both of which received Academy Award nominations for Best Picture in 2016.
Janelle has also teamed up with YouTube for a new documentary called A Revolution Of Love.
After a year that saw her address her pansexuality for the first time on record, receive critical acclaim for her third studio album Dirty Computer, and use her voice for political good, Janelle is reflecting on her journey to becoming a star.
Described as a “visual manifesto [of her] quest for love”, the film follows Janelle’s growth from a young girl singing in church to the award-winning artist she is today, and features interviews with family members and collaborators.
“Music can unite, no matter what political party you’re in, no matter what God you choose to serve,” says Janelle in the documentary. “You can absolutely connect with somebody over a good horn line.”
A Revolution Of Love is directed by Emma Westenberg, who previously worked on Janelle’s brilliant music video for PYNK, and is the latest in YouTube’s Artist Spotlight Stories series, which focuses on artists “pushing the boundaries” in their fields.
“It’s really, really great to have something like YouTube to get my message out,” explains Janelle.
“There is power in seeing people in action, seeing an artist who does have messaging of empowerment and wants to contribute. If you want to become an activist, being able to see that is being able to be that. It’s like the revolution is being televised.”
Watch the short film below.