After the debacle that was the Oscars all but ignoring black talent this year, audiences are long overdue to see black characters thriving and succeeding onscreen. Like most progressive change in Hollywood these days, when the movies won’t do it, television steps up to the plate. Enter Netflix’s exciting new four-part limited series, “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker,” starring Octavia Spencer as America’s first female self-made millionaire. With an uplifting first trailer released today, as well as some gorgeous first-look photos, “Self Made” is sure to become Netflix’s latest water cooler hit.
The official synopsis reads: “Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer stars as Madam C.J. Walker, the trailblazing African American haircare entrepreneur who was America’s first female self-made millionaire. Inspired by the book, ‘On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker,’ written by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, the Netflix four-part limited series brings the uplifting story of this cultural icon to the screen for the first time. 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 four-part limited series also stars Blair Underwood as her husband C.J. Walker, Tiffany Haddish as her daughter Lelia, Carmen Ejogo as Walker’s business rival Addie Munroe, Garrett Morris as Walker’s father-in-law, Kevin Carroll as her longtime lawyer Freeman Ransom and Bill Bellamy as Ransom’s cousin Sweetness.
Popular on IndieWire
The photos — which you can see below — boast gorgeous period costumes and sets, including teal suits, antique cars, and a dizzying variety of fabulous hats on both the women and the men. The trailer also teases some dazzling dance numbers, canes and all, perhaps hinting at some more fantastical elements to the story.
After the year of “Harriet,” “Queen & Slim,” and “Waves,” Netflix is quickly becoming one of the only studios investing in joyous and uplifting black stories. The streamer hit big with last year’s Eddie Murphy vehicle “Dolemite Is My Name,” a stylish crowdpleaser about another self-made entrepreneur.
Netflix will release all four parts of “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker” on March 20. Check out the trailer and first-look photos below.
And here are the delicious photos: