Netflix is known for supernatural superhero series, the occasional messy reality drama and more but their latest big feature is to tell the true story of a woman who not only redefined beauty standards for black women everywhere but also became the wealthiest self-made woman in America.
On Tuesday (Feb. 25), the streaming platform released the first trailer for Self-Made: Inspired By The Life of Madam C.J. Walker, a limited series that chronicles the life and career of the hair care entrepreneur and consistent Black History Month factoid.
“It’s time to tell my story,” Walker, portrayed by Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer says in the initial trailer for the four-part series. “I didn’t come here to make sandwiches. I came here to do business.”
The series highlights various moments in Walker’s life included the revelation of her own hair loss journey that set her on the path of entrepreneurship but also financial emancipation. Along the way she faces battles from working in laundry to creating and selling her own line of hair care products, empowering other women of color to go into business for themselves and create a class of entrepreneurs not tied to their husbands.
“Sisters, let’s talk about hair,” Spencer’s Walker says to a crowd of black women in the clip, building herself up to give a sales pitch. “They put us down, tell us we’re ugly, make us feel ugly,” she tells the crowd, before adding in a later scene, “hair is beauty. Hair is power.”
Along the way, Walker deals with colorism and racism, in large part due to her biggest rival, Addie Munroe played by Carmen Ejogo. “Colored women will do anything to look like me, even if deep down they know they can’t,” Addie says, indirectly inspiring Walker to market her products strictly to black women. There’s also the friction that develops between Walker and her husband, C.J. Walker portrayed by Blair Underwood as the two clash on what’s best for their family.
The series is based on the book On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker written by Walker’s great-grandaughter, A’Lelia Bundles. According to Netflix, it is the “first time” that Walker’s story has been told on the big or small screen. “Against all odds, Walker overcame post-slavery racial and gender biases, personal betrayals, and business rivalries to build a ground-breaking brand that revolutionized black haircare, as she simultaneously fought for social change,” the network explained in the official synopsis.
Catch the series when it begins to stream on March 20th.