Netflix today revealed the trailer, key art and more photos for Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker. The four-part limited series is set to debut on March 20, 2020.
Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer stars as Madam C.J. Walker, the trailblazing African American haircare entrepreneur who was America’s first female self-made millionaire.
Inspired by the book, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker, written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, the Netflix original series, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker brings the uplifting story of this cultural icon to the screen for the first time.
Against all odds, Walker overcame post-slavery racial and gender biases, personal betrayals, and business rivalries to build a ground-breaking brand that revolutionized black haircare, as she simultaneously fought for social change.
The four-part limited series also stars Blair Underwood as her husband C.J. Walker, Tiffany Haddish as her daughter Lelia, Carmen Ejogo as Walker’s business rival Addie Munroe, Garrett Morris as Walker’s father-in-law, Kevin Carroll as her longtime lawyer Freeman Ransom and Bill Bellamy as Ransom’s cousin Sweetness.
The book is officially described as follows: On Her Own Ground is the first full-scale, definitive biography of Madam C. J. Walker—the legendary African American entrepreneur and philanthropist—by her great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles.
The daughter of slaves, Madam C. J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at fourteen and widowed at twenty. 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. By her death in 1919, Walker managed to overcome astonishing odds: building a storied beauty empire from the ground up, amassing wealth unprecedented among black women and devoting her life to philanthropy and social activism. Along the way, she formed friendships with great early-twentieth-century political figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.
On Her Own Ground is not only the first comprehensive biography of one of recent history’s most amazing entrepreneurs and philanthropists, it is about a woman who is truly an African American icon. Drawn from more than two decades of exhaustive research, the book is enriched by the author’s exclusive access to personal letters, records and never-before-seen photographs from the family collection.
Bundles also showcases Walker’s complex relationship with her daughter, A’Lelia Walker, a celebrated hostess of the Harlem Renaissance and renowned friend to both Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.
In chapters such as “Freedom Baby,” “Motherless Child,” “Bold Moves” and “Black Metropolis,” Bundles traces her ancestor’s improbable rise to the top of an international hair care empire that would be run by four generations of Walker women until its sale in 1985. Along the way, On Her Own Ground reveals surprising insights, tells fascinating stories and dispels many misconceptions.
Produced by SpringHill Entertainment and Wonder Street in association with Warner Bros. Television, the series is helmed by co-showrunners Elle Johnson & Janine Sherman Barrois. Nicole Jefferson is the writer and co-executive producer. Kasi Lemmons and DeMane Davis are the directors.
The executive producers include Janine Sherman Barrois, Elle Johnson, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Octavia Spencer, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Kasi Lemmons, and Jamal Henderson.