The limited TV series about Madam C.J. Walker, which stars Octavia Spencer as the first black woman to become a self-made millionaire by selling her own line of hair care products in the early 1900s, will premiere on Netflix.
Variety reports that A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter whose book On Our Own Ground serves as the show’s source material, will also serve as a consultant on the show. And both Spencer and LeBron James will produce.
Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in Louisiana, 1867. An orphan who was married at 14 and widowed by age 20, she was reportedly inspired to sell hair products after her own hair began falling out in the 1890s. Along with her third husband who worked in newspapers, she used inventive advertisements as well as an Avon Lady-style sales strategy that had women selling the products to other women. Her business made her the first black woman millionaire in the country, as the New York Times reported in her obituary:
Estimates of Mrs. Walker’s fortune had run up to $1,000,000. She said herself two years ago that she was not yet a millionaire, but hoped to be some time, not that she wanted the money for herself, but for the good she could do with it. She spent $10,000 every year for the education of young negro men and women in Southern colleges and sent six youths to Tuskegee Institute every year. She recently gave $5,000 to the National Conference on Lynching.