Self Made (miniseries)

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Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker
Self Made - Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (2020) Series Poster.jpg
GenreDrama
Based onOn Her Own Ground
by A'Lelia Bundles
Starring
Music byLarry Goldings
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes4 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • DeMane Davis
  • Eric Oberland
  • Lena Cordina
CinematographyKira Kelly
Editor(s)
  • Jessica Hernández
  • Liza D. Espinas
  • Susana Benaim
Running time45–49 minutes
Production company(s)
Release
Original networkNetflix
Original releaseMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)

Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker is an American drama web television limited series, based on the biography On Her Own Ground by A'Lelia Bundles, that premiered on March 20, 2020 on Netflix.[1][2] It received generally positive reviews from the critics with major praise drawn towards Octavia Spencer's performance; however it received criticism for various historical inaccuracies and artistic licence. For her performance, Spencer received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie.

Premise[edit]

Self Made is a fictionalized depiction of "the untold story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam C. J. Walker and how she overcame the hostilities of turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, and tumultuous marriages to become America’s first Black, self-made female millionaire."[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Guest[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byTeleplay byOriginal release dateProd.
code
1"The Fight of the Century"Kasi LemmonsNicole Jefferson AsherMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)T13.21551
Sarah Breedlove is a poor washer-woman who is losing her hair when she meets Addie who saves her bald spots with her miracle grow. To show her appreciation of Addie, Sarah wants to become a saleswoman, but Addie knocks her confidence down by telling her to stick to washing as women will never want to buy a product from someone who looks like her. Infuriated, Sarah creates her own line of products. Though they sell well she craves more and decides to move her entire family to Indianapolis. Sarah's company is successful until Addie arrives in town. Frightened by the competition Sarah decides to offer a "buy one get one free" deal but in the ensuing struggle to fulfill orders her home burns down. As she watches Addie scoop up her business she vows to rebuild her business and takes on the name Madam C. J. Walker.
2"Bootstraps"Kasi LemmonsJanine Sherman BarroisMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)T13.21552
Sarah puts a downpayment on a factory but has trouble securing investors to pay for the rest. She decides to gain Booker T. Washington's endorsement but is blocked from meeting him. Approaching Washington's wife, Margaret, Sarah pleads for her club's support before crashing Washington's conference and making a plea for investors. Washington later crushes her hopes of an endorsement by sharing his own sexist views on women entrepreneurs.
3"The Walker Girl"DeMane DavisElle JohnsonMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)T13.21553

Sarah decides to take her daughter Leila to New York City for a business opportunity over her husband, Charles, who feels like he is being cut out from the business more and more. Addie takes the opportunity to poach five of Sarah's top saleswomen out from under her including Dora, a beautiful saleswoman who is having an affair with Charles.

When Sarah returns to the chaos she discovers all that has been going on and once again puts her business first.
4"A Credit to the Race"DeMane DavisNicole Jefferson AsherMarch 20, 2020 (2020-03-20)T13.21554
As Sarah is expanding her empire out of New York City she learns that she is dying and begins to pressure Leila to provide her with an heir, unaware that Leila is in love with a woman and has been in a relationship with her for years. Meanwhile Charles returns wanting to finalize his divorce with Sarah and threatens to reveal the secret behind her formula if she doesn't sign the papers.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

On November 10, 2016, it was announced that Zero Gravity Management had optioned the screen rights to A'Lelia Bundles' biography of Madam C. J. Walker, entitled On Her Own Ground, with the intent of developing it into a limited series. The production was expected to be written by Nicole Asher, directed by Kasi Lemmons, and produced by Octavia Spencer, Christine Holder, and Mark Holder.[4]

On July 6, 2017, it was announced that Netflix had given the production a series order consisting of eight episodes. Executive producers are expected to include LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Janine Sherman Barrois, and Elle Johnson. Lemmons is set to direct and executive produce the first episode. Production companies involved with the series are slated to consist of SpringHill Entertainment alongside Zero Gravity Management.[3] The series premiered on March 20, 2020.[2]

Casting[edit]

Alongside the initial development announcement, it was confirmed that the series would star Octavia Spencer as Madam C. J. Walker.[4] On August 6, 2019, it was reported that Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, Garrett Morris, and Kevin Carroll had joined the cast.[5] On August 21, 2019, Bill Bellamy was cast in the miniseries.[1] On October 15, 2019, Zahra Bentham and Mouna Traoré were cast in recurring roles.[6]

Filming[edit]

Filming for the limited series took from July 26 to September 20, 2019 in the Canadian cities of Mississauga, Cambridge, Stratford and St. Catharines.[7][8][9]

Reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries holds an approval rating of 77% based on 13 reviews, with an average rating of 5.95/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Self Made doesn't always live up to its namesake, but there's no denying that Octavia Spencer's spectacular embodiment of the singular Madam C.J. Walker is a sight to be seen." [10] On Metacritic, it has a weighted average score of 64 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11] Other reviews report disappointment because of the fictionalization and inaccuracies in the storyline. Addie Monroe is a fictionalized character intended to portray Annie Malone, another self-made millionaire who actually was the mentor of Walker.[12] She is portrayed as a villain while another falsification is the portrayal of Walker’s daughter as a lesbian.[13][14]

Accolades[edit]

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Year Recipient Nomination Result
Black Reel TV Awards[15] 2020 Self Made Outstanding TV Movie/Limited Series Pending
Blair Underwood Outstanding Actor, TV Movie/Limited Series Pending
Octavia Spencer Outstanding Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series Pending
Carmen Ejogo Outstanding Supporting Actress, TV Movie/Limited Series Pending
Bill Bellamy Outstanding Supporting Actor, TV Movie/Limited Series Pending
Primetime Emmy Awards Octavia Spencer Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Pending

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Petski, Denise (August 21, 2019). "'Madam CJ Walker': Bill Bellamy Joins Netflix Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 21, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 2, 2020). "Netflix Sets Premiere Date For 'Self Made: Inspired By The Life Of Madam C.J. Walker', Unveils First Look At Octavia Spencer Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 2, 2020. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (July 29, 2018). "Netflix Orders 'Madam C.J. Walker' Limited Series Starring Octavia Spencer & Produced By LeBron James – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 29, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (November 10, 2016). "Octavia Spencer To Star In & Produce Madam C.J. Walker Limited Series For Zero Gravity". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on July 30, 2018. Retrieved July 29, 2018.
  5. ^ Bennett, Anita (August 6, 2019). "Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, More Join Netflix's 'Madam C.J. Walker' Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 6, 2019. Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Petski, Denise (October 15, 2019). "'Madam CJ Walker': Zahra Bentham, Joanne Jansen & Mouna Traoré To Recur In Netflix Limited Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on October 15, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  7. ^ "Current Productions | IATSE 873". IATSE 873. Archived from the original on May 26, 2019. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  8. ^ Walter, Karena (August 2, 2019). "St. Catharines attracts slice of Hollywood". The St. Catharines Standard. Archived from the original on August 11, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  9. ^ Martin, Ray (July 26, 2019). "Cambridge in running for film industry service award". CambridgeTimes.ca. Archived from the original on September 30, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  10. ^ "Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  11. ^ "Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker". Metacritic. Archived from the original on March 21, 2020. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Nicolaou, Elena (March 20, 2020). "Addie in Self Made Is Based on Beauty Pioneer Annie Turnbo Malone". Oprahmag.org. Archived from the original on March 21, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  13. ^ Walker, Robert (March 20, 2020). "The Problem With "The Facts About Madam C.J. Walker And Annie Malone" And The Netflix Series". HarlemWorldMagazine.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  14. ^ Cowell, Lynda (March 23, 2020). "Self Made on Netflix misses out some important facts from Madam CJ Walker's real life". Digitalspy.com. Archived from the original on March 24, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "Watchmen & Insecure Pace the Black Reel Awards for TV Nominations". Black Reel Awards. June 18, 2020. Retrieved July 28, 2020.

External links[edit]