Film / TVRace

octavia spencer’s series on madam cj walker is coming to netflix

July 31, 2018
987 Picks

One deserving historical figure that has BEEN left out of the biopic stratosphere is the Madame C.J Walker, America’s first Black woman self-made millionaire. Thanks to Basketball icon and new public school owner (Yasss with the Oprah energy) Lebron James and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer, the life of the hair care mogul is coming to your screens in an eight-part mini series that will be hosted by Netflix. Spencer will play Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madame C.J. Walker and will also be serving as executive producer alongside James whose production company Springhill – the mini series will be the company’s first green-lit project. Deadline reported that “Janine Sherman Barrois and Elle Johnson are set as show runners on the Zero Gravity-produced series about the legendary African American entrepreneur and philanthropist, with Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Talk to Me) on board to direct the first episode.”

The show will be based on biography ‘On Her Own Ground’ which was written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’lelia Bundles. “The daughter of slaves, Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14 and widowed at 20. She spent the better part of the next two decades laboring as a washerwoman for $1.50 a week. Then — with the discovery of a revolutionary hair care formula for black women — everything changed.” Walker’s story is vital because she built her empire on the ideology of loving Black hair instead of wanting to tame or change it. Walker wanted to solve the common haircare issue of hair loss and in doing so, went on to building an empire in a racially hostile environment that defined the turn of the century in the United States.

Walker amassed wealth unprecedented for a black women living in her time but her legacy doesn’t stop at her wealth. The hair pioneer dedicated her life and her resources to giving back, devoting her efforts to philanthropy and social activism. Walker also had friendships with great early 20th century political figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, opening up the possibilities of seeing more historical black figures represented in the telling of Walker’s story. Walker experienced more than a fare share of adversity being a Black woman in the late 1800s but seeing the story of an actual self-made Black millionaire in the height of the lynching era is the kind of storytelling we desperately need right now.