Octavia Spencer is Madame C. J. Walker in a limited series on Netflix. Not only is Spencer starring in the project, she is also an Executive Producer. Also sharing the producing credits with Spencer is Lebron James and Maverick Carter through their company, Springhill Entertainment, along with Zero Gravity.
Octavia Spencer Stars As The First Black Female Millionnaire
Arriving next year in 2020, Netflix is airing a 8-part limited series: Madame C. J. Walker. Based on a biography On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles, the great-great-granddaughter of the hair care pioneer.
As reported exclusively by Variety last August of 2017, the series will recount the untold story of how Walker, a black hair care pioneer and mogul, overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and some trifling family to become America’s first black, self-made female millionaire.
Let’s run down the star-studded cast list –
- Octavia Spencer as Madame C. J. Walker
- Blair Underwood as Walker’s husband, Charles James Walker
- Tiffany Haddish as Walker’s daughter, Lelia
- Carmen Ejogo as Addie, a hairstylist and Walker’s former friend
- Bill Bellamy as Sweetness
- Garrett Morris as Walker’s father Cleophus, as former slave
- Kevin Carroll as Ransom, a Pullman porter who became Walker’s company lawyer
Just Who Is Madame C. J. Walker
If you don’t know her story, you are about to be schooled.
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations….I have built my own factory on my own ground.” – Madame C. J. Walker in 1912from madamecjwalker.com
Born Sara Breedlove, she took on the name Madame C. J. Walker as a result of her marriage to Charles Joseph Walker.
Not only was Ms. Breedlove a smart business woman, she was also a philanthropist and political and social activist. Madame Walker changed the game for black folks everywhere.
Founder of the Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, she created her products after suffering hair loss from a scalp ailment. Paving the way for future generations of black entrepreneurs, she made several inventions, including cosmetics and hair care for black women.
Orphaned at age seven, married at 14 and widowed by the age of 20, Walker, the daughter of slaves, spent two decades laboring as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a week. Everything changed after Walker suffered hair loss from a scalp aliment. By the time she died in 1919, she had built a beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women, as reported by Variety.
As reported by IndyStar, more than a century after her “secret formula” turned Madam C.J. Walker into a self-made millionaire, her iconic brand of beauty products is back. As of 2016, products for black hair care are again bearing her name.
No doubt the subject of numerous Black History assignments, Madame C. J. Walker’s legacy will forever be felt in the black community.