By Sharee Silerio
Many of us have heard of Madam C.J. Walker, the first self-made African-American female millionaire. But how much do we really know about Ms. Walker?
Thankfully, an NBA player, NAACP Image award-winning director and talented actress are working together to make sure we know more about the legendary woman behind the first black hair care empire.
Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer (“The Help”, “Hidden Figures”) has joined the cast of the upcoming limited series about Walker’s life as an entrepreneur, activist and philanthropist. Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”, “Talk to Me”) (who is from my hometown of St. Louis!) is on board to direct and executive produce the pilot, and Nicole Asher will write and co executive produce.
The series will be produced by LeBron James through his production company SpringHill Entertainment, which is currently behind “Survivor’s Remorse” on Starz. His company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter, will also produce. The project will be Spring Hill’s first scripted drama.
The show is an adaptation based on the bestselling biography “On Her Ground”, written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, who will serve as a consult on the series. Published in 2002, the book tells the story of Walker’s life and journey to becoming the wealthiest Black woman in America at the time.
“I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”
The film is in line with Spring Hill’s mission to spotlight hidden African-American figures who helped shape American history. The company recently donated $2.5 million to the Smithsonian’s Muhammad Ali exhibit at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“It’s so exciting for all of us to keep building SpringHill, see it mature, and continue to find its voice. We are really focused on growing with authenticity and substance,” Carter said. “For us, this is totally about great stories and great partners. Partnering with Octavia to tell the story of Madam C.J. Walker is the ideal first project for SpringHill to take an important step into scripted drama.”
Variety reports that Netflix is interested in the series, which might be the show’s home.
Zero Gravity and Warner Bros. will partner on the production, The Holders (through Zero Gravity), James and Carter (through SpringHill), and Spencer (through her production company Orit Entertainment) will all serve as exec producers.
Have you read Madam C.J. Walker’s biography? Are you interested learning more about her life?