Netflix unveils new series inspired by hair care mogul Madam C.J. Walker

Octavia Spencer will star as the historic beauty business woman and philanthropist

Madam C.J. Walker (left) and actress Octavia Spencer

Netflix has announced a new eight episode series detailing the life of beauty entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.

Born in 1867 as Sarah Breedlove to former slaves, Walker became the first self-made female millionaire in the US and one of the most successful entrepreneurs of her time.

Academy Award winning actor Octavia Spencer will star as the business woman and executive produce the limited series based on the book On Her Own Ground by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles.

Walker, inspired by her own struggle of hair loss, made her fortune by developing and marketing a direct-selling hair care business for African-American women.

Wiki Commons / The Women's Museum

She produced a tonic for the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company that claimed to encourage hair growth as well as a line of products that would give kinky hair a silky sheen.

According to Netflix, the series is the “untold and highly irreverent story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam C.J. Walker and how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and some trifling family”.

This is not the first time Walker has been honoured posthumously. In 2016, Sundial Brands entered the prestige hair care category with the Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture brand.

“Madam C.J. Walker was the first person to devise and scale a business model that addressed the hair care and beauty needs of women of colour," said Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial Brands at the time of launch.

"While also challenging the myopic ideals of the beauty industry at that time."

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