'Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker' instills pride in millennial African Americans
In a millennial world riddled with unwanted hate and judgment, Netflix's 'Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker' shone a light of positivity among the African American community. It details the troughs and crests of the life of Sarah Breedlove aka Madam CJ Walker — a hair care pioneer. Inspired by 'On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam CJ Walker', the book penned by Walker's great-great-granddaughter A'Lelia Bundles, the mogul's life mirrors the challenges in the current political scenario as well as feminist stigmas.
With the series tackling women empowerment through hair, it can uplift young African American women as they navigate a seemingly racist world. Haircare may seem like a minute detail for most busybodies but for African African women, it influences their everyday life. Each woman has a different type of hair and products don't atone to their needs. However, they are all judged by how they choose to keep it.
Madam CJ Walker's contribution to the hair industry is considered a vital part of history and the series highlights the struggles she faced trying to make it big. Having suffered hair loss, she said that she neglected herself because she had lost her confidence. It showcases the struggle of a woman whose vanity is challenged, whose husband leaves her and who feels as though she is stripped off her identity. Having to stand up to men who believe "women should know their place", Walker challenged the then norm of submissiveness and became America’s first female self-made millionaire.
The mini-series shows the trailblazer's rise to fame, including some of the most heartbreaking events. A role model to many, her story was excellently portrayed by Octavia Spencer and can shine a light on how determination and confidence go a long way.
A woman who was once told she didn't "have the right look" goes on to highlight what it takes to become a cultural icon, uplifting young women everywhere. Giving them the opportunity to be proud of their hair instead of neglecting it. From tackling racial and gender biases, betrayals and gender synonymous rivalries, she revolutionized African American hair care, bringing in a social change that holds true even today.
The series appeals to the millennial African American community, who have looked up to the icon for years. It tells a story of a woman that echoed the same struggles women face even today and it is an excellent way to shine a light on a humanitarian crisis that should be averted.
All four parts of 'Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker' are currently streaming on Netflix.