After releasing the visually dazzling, digitized time-space and visual album, Dirty Computer earlier this year, Janelle Monae is continuing to expand her Afrofuturist Android universe by signing a first look production deal with Universal Pictures.
With her futuristic and transportive music videos and critically acclaimed performances in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, Monae definitely has an eye for world building and has subsequently taken a significant byte out of the film industry.
The deal with Universal Pictures is with Monae’s production company, Wondaland Pictures, the film division of the singer and actress’ entertainment company, Wondaland.
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Thank you for your belief in @wondaland Donna Langley & Universal . We look forward to going on this journey ! To our peers & fellow creatives we can’t wait to collaborate with you . Family, friends, & day one supporters we hope to make you proud . We are humbled by the opportunity. 🙏🏾 #WondalandPictures 🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬 “Universal Pictures announced that the studio has entered into a first-look production agreement with Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Pictures, the film division of her multimedia company Wondaland. 🎬 Alongside its creative in-house team of executives including CEO Monáe, Managing Partner Mikael Moore, Creative Director Chuck Lightning and Executive Producer Nate Wonder, Wondaland and Universal Pictures will develop multi-genre content with an emphasis on championing underrepresented voices and groundbreaking perspectives. 🎬 “There is an exciting, artistic revolution taking place in our industry, and Janelle and the talented team at Wondaland are at the forefront,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. “Their forward-thinking, inclusive approach to content and storytelling make them a perfect fit for our studio.” 🎬 The deal further strengthens the collaborative relationship between Monáe and Universal: She stars in Universal’s upcoming Robert Zemeckis-directed movie Welcome to Marwen, opening Dec. 21, and Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet due out next year.”
The upcoming projects will follow Monae’s pattern of mixing genres and amplifying marginalized voices and providing space where these underrepresented identities are affirmed and celebrated.
Universal Pictures Chairman, Donna Langley, released a statement on the deal, saying,
“There is an exciting, artistic revolution taking place in our industry, and Janelle and the talented team at Wondaland are at the forefront. Their forward-thinking, inclusive approach to content and storytelling make them a perfect fit for our studio.”
Monae will appear in an upcoming Universal animation film, Welcome to Marwen, and the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet, set for release in 2019. She has also recently been added to the cast of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp remake.
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Sitting on a flight reading about all of these exceptional humans w/ tears in my eyes & pride in my heavy heart . This past week has been dark to say the least . I am thankful for the ⭐️LIGHT ✨that is YOU , each of you . THANK YOU @glamourmag for including me in this phenomenal tribe . #WOMENOFTHEYEAR2018 🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹🌹 🔶🔺🔷🔵🔶❤️ Photog: @daniellelevitt Writer: @KaitlynGreenidge Fashion: @seanknight Makeup: @jessicasmalls Hair: @vernonfrancois
Always leaning in the direction of the technological, the deal with Universal is indicative of Monáe’s is an effort to create narratives that are more inclusive, elevate the idea of being who you are and how you chose to identify, for every individual is an agent of their own self-definition.
As Monae asserted in the radio interview with Hot 97 earlier this year,
“Freedom is not free. You got to actively fight for it. We have the power to shape the culture and undo the culture that does not serve us.”