Eritrean-American comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish alongside Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, and Garrett Morris have been officially added to the cast of Netflix’s Madam C.J. Walker series, the online streaming platform announced.
Walker is credited as being the first African-American female self-made millionaire.
Executive produced by NBA superstar Lebron James and Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer, who will also play the lead role of Madam C.J. Walker, the four-part limited series will see Haddish playing the role of Lelia, Walker’s daughter.
The Shadow and Act describes the character as: “the smart and feisty daughter of Sarah Breedlove (Walker) and her late first husband” who is “eager to be independent” after she was “raised by her single mother.”
The series will be based on the book titled, On Her Own Ground, which is authored by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles.
The rights to the book were optioned to formulate into a show by Zero Gravity in 2016. The deal stated that Spencer would act and produce and Kasi Lemmons would serve as the director. In 2017, Lebron James and SpringHill Entertainment hopped on board to solidify the deal.
Walker, originally named Sarah Breedlove, was born to enslaved parents. At the age of seven, she became orphaned; she married at 14 and in 1906 began her million-dollar hair enterprise.
After her husband’s death, C.J. Walker moved to St.Louis with her daughter, where she began to work as a laundress. At the time, black women had a lot of issues with their hair, including dandruff and other scalp diseases. After experimenting with products in her home and other items in the market, Breedlove developed a shampoo and ointment with sulfur that helped stimulate the scalp and made it healthier for hair growth.
With her new husband, Charles Joseph Walker, Breedlove developed and marketed a line of beauty and hair products for black women through Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, the successful business she founded. Madam C.J. Walker’s hair products were distributed and sold door to door throughout the United States.
In 1908, the couple settled in Pittsburgh and opened Lelia College, an institute ran by her daughter A’Lelia Walker, where they trained individuals in hair care and entrepreneurship.