Coming this spring to Netflix, Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer will star as Madam C. J. Walker on Self Made, a four-part period piece based on the biography by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, about the woman, the legend, the philanthropist and sociopolitical activist and, whaddya know (or don’t), America’s first female self-made millionaire.
Bet they don’t teach ’bout her in beauty school. Or regular school, for that matter.
Née Sarah Breedlove in Delta, La., Walker founded the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company at the turn of the 20th century, to produce and bring to market an array of beauty and hair products for African-American consumers. She was, legit, one of the first American moguls, but her rise, of course, wasn’t one without struggle. Reportedly the first in her family to be born free, Walker had to overcome post-slavery racial and gender biases, personal betrayals (mmm hmmm), and business rivalries to build a groundbreaking brand that set to revolutionize an industry, as she simultaneously fought for social change and justice.
Co-starring opposite Spencer will be Blair Underwood as her husband, C. J. Walker; Tiffany Haddish as her daughter, Leila; Selma’s Carmen Ejogo as her business rival, Addie Munroe; and Kevin Carroll (FX’s Snowfall) as Freeman Ransom, Walker’s longtime lawyer.
Directed by Harriet’s Kasi Lemmons, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker will be ready to stream on March 20.