Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker tells the true story of African American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist Madam C.J. Walker, who built a haircare empire that made her the first female self-made “millionaire”. Walker was considered the wealthiest African-American businesseswoman and wealthiest self-made woman in America at the time of her death in 1919.
This upcoming American drama web television limited series, is based on the biography On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles, that is set to premiere on March 20, 2020 on Netflix. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer stars as Madam C.J. Walker.
Release date: March 20, 2020
Cast: Octavia Spencer, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, Kevin Carroll, Bill Bellamy, Zahra Bentham, Mouna Traoré
Although Madam C.J. Walker was eulogized as the first female self-made millionaire in the US, her estate was worth an estimated $600,000 upon her death (roughly $8.8 million in 2019).
On November 10, 2016, it was announced that Zero Gravity Management had optioned the screen rights to A’Lelia Bundles’ biography of Madam C. J. Walker, titled “On Her Own Ground”, with the intent of developing it into a limited series. The production was expected to be written by Nicole Asher, directed by Kasi Lemmons, and produced by Octavia Spencer, Christine Holder, and Mark Holder.
On July 6, 2017, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order consisting of eight episodes. Executive producers include LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Janine Sherman Barrois, and Elle Johnson. Kasi Lemmons is set to direct and executive produce the pilot. Production companies involved with the series are SpringHill Entertainment alongside Zero Gravity Management and Warner Bros. Television.
It was confirmed at the time of development that the series would star Octavia Spencer as Madam C. J. Walker. On August 6, 2019, it was reported that Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, and Kevin Carroll had joined the cast. The rest of the cast joined a few months later.
Filming for the limited series took place in the Canadian cities of Mississauga, Cambridge and St Catharines.
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