Netflix has ordered a limited series on Madam CJ Walker, who is regarded as the first African-American female millionaire. The eight-episode series, titled Madam CJ Walker and starring Octavia Spencer, is based on the biography On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles, who is Walker’s great-great-granddaughter.
“The series will recount the untold story of how Walker, a black hair care pioneer and mogul, 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,” Variety reported.
Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, died in 1919 after having built up a financial empire based on hair care products for African-American women. She was orphaned at the age of seven and married at 14. By 20, she was a widow and the mother of a two-year-old girl. After remarrying, she began to sell hair care products and eventually set up her own factory, beauty saloons, and training school. Walker was also a prominent philanthropist and activist.
The Netflix series is being produced by basketball player LeBron James’s company, SpringHill Entertainment. The pilot episode will be directed by Kasi Lemmons.