janet jackson is producing a movie about legendary harlem mobster 'queenie'

Stephanie St. Clair. was also an activist for the black community and one of the first people to call out police brutality.

by Hannah Ongley
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Apr 21 2016, 8:15pm

Earlier this month Janet Jackson announced that she would be postponing her tour to start a family. In the interim the pop legend has revealed plans for just about the only thing that could make fans chill with awaiting both of the above: a movie based on the true story of a woman gangster during the 1920s Prohibition. Jackson will executive produce Queenie as part of the Lifetime network's 2016-2017 development slate. 

"The true story centers on the first and only woman gangster during Prohibition, set against the backdrop of The Cotton Club. Kenny Leon (A Raisin In The Sun) will direct," Deadline reported. Some light Googling reveals more exciting facts about the woman formally known as Stephanie St. Clair. She was also an activist for the black community, and became involved in Harlem's male-dominated numbers game of "policy banking" as a way to address the race politics of investment banking at the time. Many banks would not accept black customers, so those wanting to invest often had to resort to illegal methods. St. Clair was also one of the first people to call out police brutality, putting out ads in the local papers to educate the Harlem community of their civil liberties until her death in 1960 at the age of 82. 

Lifetime is hardly 20th Century Fox, but the rest of the network's upcoming slate is equally exciting for women and particularly women of color. Serena Williams will executive produce the movie Sister Dance, inspired by the annual dance-off competition she hosts with her sister Venus. Selena Gomez is working on an autobiographical scripted drama based on her own drama-filled (albeit short) life so far, and The Michel'le Story will be a film based on the life of R&B singer Michel'le. There's even a book adaptation (None of the Above) about an intersex homecoming queen.

"It still sucks to be a woman in America because women feel dismissed in both big and small ways throughout their day every day," said Liz Gateley, executive vice president and head of programming for the network. "We know our viewers come to Lifetime because we empower them. No studio or network is giving women creators a bigger platform to freely express themselves and see their stories get made."

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Text Hannah Ongley

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Culture
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mobster
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Janet Jackson
Lifetime
queenie