Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker
Life is beautiful for those who dare to dream.
Haircare entrepreneur Sarah Walker (Octavia Spencer) was by far the lucky few. In striving for greatness at a time when the odds seemed fervently against her, America’s first self-made female millionaire would take centre stage and unequivocally show the world that wealth is a matter not of privilege, but of hard work.
Based on A’Lelia Bundles’s biography On Her Own Ground, the four-part Netflix miniseries Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker takes viewers back to 1908, when the impoverished Walker, a washerwoman from St Louis, swapped laundry for luxury, selling hair growers to citizens like herself who had fallen victim to hair loss. “Hair is our heritage. Hair tells us who we are, where we have been and where we are going.”
Exploring race and identity, the narrative defies the old adage of a woman’s place being inside her own home. Instead, it endeavours to lift the spirits of the female species, particularly those belonging to the black community. Madam C.J Walker demonstrated that women, too, are capable of greatness, if only they put their mind to it and embrace their roots.
Spencer truly shines in her role as the pioneer. Her sensitivity and stoicism are traits to look up to. Men, including those closest to Walker, feel threatened by her. Society tries to deter her from reaching her highest potential, including her so-called mentor and confidante Addie (Carmen Ejogo), yet the former still comes out on top.
With a modern soundtrack to accompany it, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker reflects on a life well lived. Amid adversity, there is hope.
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker is released digitally on Netflix on 20th March 2020.
Watch the trailer for Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker here: