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Netflix to Air Story of Madam Walker, First Black Female Millionaire

Fern Siegel

The story of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female back millionaire in the U.S., arrives on Netflix March 20. Starring Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer, the four-part “Self Made” records the struggles of the pioneer hair-care businesswoman.

Born Sarah Breedlove, she went from a struggling laundress to a respected entrepreneur. Her story begins when stress caused her hair to fall out — and she gets help from a wonderful product. But its maker doesn’t think Walker is right for sales. That’s when Breedlove creates her own hair grower and redefines expectations for black women.

The series is based on the book “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker,” written by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter.

Walker’s story is both inspirational and aspirational. She fought racial and gender bigotry, while creating a brand that redefined black hair care.

Spencer co-stars with Blair Underwood, as her husband C.J. Walker and Tiffany Haddish as her daughter Lelia.

The series is executive produced by co-showrunners Elle Johnson and Janine Sherman Barrois. The show is from LeBron James’ SpringHill Entertainment and Wonder Street, in association with Warner Bros. TV. SpringHill’s projects have included NBC game show “The Wall,” HBO’s “The Shop” and an upcoming documentary with Quibi.

Separately, Netflix has acquired global rights outside Australia to “Stateless,” a drama series starring and executive produced by Cate Blanchett, following its world premiere in Berlin this week. It’s expected to air on Netflix later this year after a March 1 launch Down Under.

The streamer also announced Sandra Oh has been cast in “The Chair,” a Netflix dramedy. And it released a new popular list that shows the top overall, top movies and top TV shows on the service. Of the top 10 TV shows, only two are not Netflix Originals, including “Better Call Saul” and “Friends.”

‘Self Made’ Trailer

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