We don’t have to wait much longer for the story of Madam C.J Walker to come to Netflix. It has been announced that Self: Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker will be premiering on March 20th.
Octavia Spencer will star as Walker in the four-part miniseries alongside Blair Underwood, who will play Walker’s husband C.J and Tiffany Haddish, who will star as her daughter Leila. Bill Bellamy will portray her cousin, Sweetness, and Garrett Morris will play her father-in-law Cleophus.
The series is based off of Walker’s 2001 biography written by her great-great granddaughter A’ Leila Bundles. It was directed by Kasi Lemmons, who also directed Harriet, Black Nativity and Eve’s Bayou. Damane Davis, who has served as director for Queen Sugar and How to Get Away with Murder, is also credited as co-director. NBA All-star Lebron James was also behind this project as a producer.
Madam C.J Walker was born in 1867 in Louisiana to two former slaves. By the age of 14 she was orphaned and married. After working for $1.50 a day washing clothes, she decided she wanted more after giving birth to her daughter.
“As I bent over the washboard and looked at my arms buried in soapsuds, I said to myself: ‘What are you going to do when you grow old and your back gets stiff? Who is going to take care of your little girl?’” she told The New York Times in 1917.
She entered the black hair care market around 1906 and was one of the first to create products for black women’s hair. Her products included shampoos, pomades, hair straighteners and elixirs. This led to her becoming a millionaire in the early 20th century, a rare achievement for black folks during that time.
After she became a successful business woman, she gave back generously. She donated thousands to the Tuskegee Institute, the N.A.A.C.P., black churches and different Y.M.C.A.s.
Take a look at the first photos of Spencer portraying Walker below.