Spencer’s feisty personality first captured my attention in ‘Hidden Figures’ with her role as Dorothy Vaughn. Prior to watching Self Made, I had come across the fascinating story of the late American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and political and social activist, Madam C. J. Walker, and hearing about a vivid recreation of her life built my excitement.
Self Made sheds light on colorism and sexism. The movie kicks off with Madam Walker (Octavia Spencer) in a marketplace calling forth black women to hear her hair story, “Sisters, sisters! Let’s talk about hair. Hair can be freedom or bondage. The choice is yours.”
Spencer portrayed the life and talent of late Madam C. J. Walker who was known as America’s first black female self-made millionaire. She was a hard worker who fought against prejudice. Once upon a timid laundry woman who always locked herself behind close doors because of how shabby her hair looked until a remedy came calling. She found a silver lining with the hair business and clinched to it.
Just like how setbacks trigger great ideas, it was the same for Walker, she was ridiculed and told she wasn’t good enough, but rather than allow such derogatory words weigh her down, through consistency and hard work, she was able to build an empire and also became the first black female self made millionaire in America.
The unique thing for Madam Walker’s move up the ladder was that she wasn’t just concerned about making more money for herself, but also wanted to empower more black women, create employment and also inculcate the entrepreneurship zeal to her daughter, A’lelia Walker played by Tiffany Haddish.
Self Made paints a lucid picture of Madam C. J. Walker’s series of trials and setbacks which were enough to make her relent given the times but instead she was fierce, hardworking and commanded attention. She was the quintessence of a go getter who knew exactly what she wanted and achieved it.
One of the quiet joys of watching this biographical story is the amazing cast which includes one of my favourite girls Tiffany Hadish and the handsome and talented Blair Underwood. The duo did justice to their individual roles.
Self Made no doubt is an inspiring watch. I’ll recommend it to everyone, especially entrepreneurs and Students. In all, Madam C.J. Walker’s vigour as an entrepreneur was well portrayed just as reflected in the historical. She was someone who could see beyond making sales as a creator, developing products to serve a purpose and a philanthropist whose good deeds should be never forgotten.