Last fall, it was reported that an upcoming limited series about the life and work of pioneering beauty entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C.J. Walker, starring Octavia Spencer, was in the early stages of development. Spencer would also be producing the series, which is based on the 2002 bestselling biography On Her Own Ground, by A’Lelia Bundles, a great-great granddaughter of Walker.
At the time, there was no word of a premiere date, or even a network, but according to Variety, the Madam C.J. Walker will probably find a home on Netflix. The news isn’t particularly shocking given recent reports of Netflix’s major deal with primetime queen Shonda Rhimes.
Variety also reports that LeBron James has also signed on to produce the project, alongside his partner Maverick Carter, under James’ company SpringHill Entertainment.
Nicole Asher will write and co-exec produce the upcoming series, and Black Nativity director Kasi Lemmons has signed on to write and direct the pilot.
orn Sarah Breedlove in 1867, Madam C. J. Walker was the daughter of slaves. Walker was orphaned at the age of 7, married at 14, and became a widow at 20. She spent nearly twenty years of her life working as a washerwoman for a meager wage. When she discovered a revolutionary haircare for black woman, her life changed dramatically. She soon launched a new business which grew into a beauty empire, eventually earning her the title of the first female self-made millionaire in America. Walker also dedicated her life to activism and philanthropy and frequently worked with influential figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington.
Walker passed in 1919, but her legacy lives on. Her story serves as inspiration for budding black women entrepreneurs and her iconic haircare line was recently revived by Sundial Brands, the company behind Shea Moisture.
There have been a number of documentaries about Walker’s life and her impact, but the upcoming project starring Spencer is the first time her life has gotten the biopic treatment.