Everything We Know About Octavia Spencer's Madam C.J. Walker Series Coming to Netflix
Octavia Spencer is bringing the relatively untold story of Madam C.J. Walker, the first black woman to become a self-made millionaire, to a small screen near you. Netflix picked up the Academy Award winner's limited series, with Spencer on board to executive produce and star as the black haircare pioneer.
The series will tell the story of Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C.J. Walker, and how she overcame the hostile turn-of-the-century America to become America's first black, self-made female millionaire. Creator Nicole Asher serves as the show's writer, and it's inspired by the book On Her Own Ground by former ABC News executive A'Lelia Bundles, who is Walker's great-great-granddaughter. Production for the series is in full swing, and it's expected to debut sometime in 2020! Check out all the other details we have on Madam C.J. Walker, and keep your eyes peeled for updates as the project progresses.
Titled Madam C.J. Walker, the eight-episode series will tell the untold story of Walker, who was born Sarah Breedlove, and detail how she 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." The series is based on the book On Her Own Ground by A'Lelia Bundles, who is Walker's great-great-granddaughter and will also serve as a consultant for the show.
A little history refresh for everyone: Walker was one of the most successful black female business owners of all time. The daughter of slaves, she was orphaned at the age of 7, married at 14, and a widow by the time she turned 20. She began selling hair products specifically for black women in the 1890s and built a revolutionary beauty empire from the ground up. By the time she died in 1919, she was well-known as a haircare pioneer.
While Octavia Spencer takes the role of haircare entrepreneur Madam C. J. Walker, she'll be joined by Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, Kevin Carroll, and Garrett Morris. Haddish is set to play Lelia, Walker's daughter with her first husband, while Ejogo has been tapped to portray Addie, a hairstylist and Walker's rival. Underwood will be playing Walker's second husband, Charles James; Morris will be playing her father, Cleophus; and Carroll will play a lawyer named Ransom who agrees to help Sarah with her hair product patents.
Also executive producing with Spencer are LeBron James, Christine and Mark Holder, and Jamal Henderson for SpringHill Entertainment. Criminal Minds' Janine Sherman Barrois and Bosch's Elle Johnson are serving as showrunners.