Pioneering American businesswoman Madam C. J. Walker will be brought back to life in a Netflix series of the same name by Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer of “The Help,” “Hidden Figures” and “The Shape of Water.”
Based on a book by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, eight episodes comprise upcoming Netflix series “Madam C. J. Walker.”
The series tells the story of a cosmetics and beauty industry pioneer who, in an unwelcoming economic and social environment, became of one of the wealthiest African-American entrepreneurs.
Born to slaves in 1867, washerwoman Sarah Breedlove had been orphaned, married, and widowed by the time she was 20 years old.
But in the 12 years before her death at the age of 51, she went from earning $1.50 a day to becoming someone now remembered the first self-made African-American millionaire.
Everything changed when she came up with a new kind of soap, ideal for use on afro-textured hair; recognized with a New York Times obituary, upon her death she left the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company to her only daughter.
Although, as “Black Fortunes” author Shomari Wills notes, Walker wasn’t the first African-American millionaire, nor the first woman to achieve such a status — she was, after all, introduced to the black beauty industry by her forerunner Annie Malone — Walker certainly became one of the most famous.
That was thanks not only to her business and philanthropy, but also an ostentatious lifestyle which was, especially in comparison to her African-American peers and predecessors, unusually lavish.
Netflix announced “Madam C.J. Walker” during its Television Critics Association presentation on July 29, 2018, without detailing a premiere date for the show.
Kasi Lemmons, who appeared in front of camera in “Silence of the Lambs” and “Candyman,” and helmed family drama “Eve’s Bayou,” radio host biopic “Talk to Me,” and part of Netflix’s “Luke Cage” season two, is to direct.