Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker
Born Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana on 23 December 1867, when she later married Charles Joseph Walker, Sarah became known as Madam CJ Walker. When she passed away in May 1919, she was famous for being an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death.
The inspirational story of how she made her fortune by developing and marketing a line of cosmetics and hair care products for black women through the business she founded, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, is told in this four-part limited series on Netflix.
The star of the show is Octavia Spencer, who won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in 2012’s The Help. She is the first black actress to receive two consecutive Academy Award nominations in back-to-back years, the first black actress to receive two Academy Award nominations after a win, and is tied with Viola Davis as the most nominated black actress to date.
Blair Underwood plays CJ Walker.
Says Spencer: “She [Madam Walker] was a woman of purpose. I’ve always known her story. But what’s interesting is her legacy is known in African American culture, but not really by the masses.”
So not only is this an important story that needs to be told to larger audiences, but it’s a period piece that is a treat to watch, even if it does become a bit rushed yet slow towards the end (if that makes sense). On top of that, it’s relevant to the oppression of woman of colour, something that is as applicable now as it was a century ago, especially in the entertainment industry, and how the pioneers overcome that.
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