Netflix’s “Self Made” may be up next on your watch list

On March 20, Netflix released a limited, four episode series on Madam C.J. Walker titled “Self Made.” Walker is remembered as the famous black woman who developed hair products for women of color. Her business proved to be extremely successful and she’s noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first female self-made millionaire. 

Walker, who is played by Octavia Spencer, is a washerwoman whose hair is thinning and falling out due to stress. When a Miss. Addie Monroe knocks on her front door trying to sell her homemade hair product, Walker tries it and readily receives hair treatment from Monroe for the next several years. The two women, however, break off their relationship after Monroe won’t let Walker be a saleswoman for her products because she doesn’t have the right looks. Instead, Walker goes home and seeks to create her own hair treatment, vowing that she’ll never go back to cleaning other people’s laundry. 

The plot follows the social, financial and political obstacles of Walker’s new business as she searches for investors to fund her factory. Overall, Walker’s determination and brilliance shine throughout the four episodes, encouraging every woman to pursue her dreams and never settle. 

While the storyline is well written, the music and creative techniques the film uses to tell Walker’s story don’t always fit the early 20th century time period. The show uses contemporary hip hop and electro music that doesn’t vibe well with the 1905 storyline. In the first episode, there is a recurring scene of a boxing match to indicate the competition between Walker and Monroe but it ends up being more distracting to viewers and is simply time consuming. Despite these stylistic elements, the rest of the series runs smoothly.

“Self Made” is an uplifting story of an intelligent woman who helped many people with her hair products. The series consists of four 50-minute episodes and always ends on a cliffhanger. Watching “Self Made” is an easy way to learn a little bit about women’s history in the 20th century. Overall, the show gives you a way to celebrate the strong women who paved the path for getting all women involved in the workforce.