Actress Octavia Spencer is heading to Netflix for a special series celebrating the life and work of Black haircare icon and mogul Madam C.J. Walker. Octavia will star in the limited series based on Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles’ biography On Her Own Ground. Octavia is also one of the show’s executive producers, alongside LeBron James.
Netflix announced the new show during its TCA executive session. The eight-episode story will follow Walker’s journey towards success and “how she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and some trifling family to become America’s first Black, self-made female millionaire.”
Black women will also be playing powerful roles behind-the-scenes, including Nicole Asher who has been tapped to write the series and director Kasi Lemmons (Eve’s Bayou, Black Nativity) along with showrunners Elle Johnson and Janine Sherman Barrois.
Netflix VP of Original Content Cindy Holland said the series is part of the streaming site’s commitment broadening its programming to “underserved audiences.”
“We spent years crafting and implementing strategy to champion voices that resonate to those audiences here and around the world, beginning with Orange Is the New Black,” she said. “The continued investment has resulted in high-quality series like Dear White People, On My Block, She’s Gotta Have It, GLOW, and our limited series Seven Seconds with Emmy-nominated Regina King, to name a few,” she said.
“We’re only getting started, but our goal is for the label of ‘diverse content’ to become obsolete,” Holland said. There will only be great content reflecting all communities around the world.”