By Kelly Wenzel
The new Netflix miniseries “Self Made” condenses a moral of the story in its title. The theme from the first time Octavia Spencer flashes on the television screen to the role of credits in the last episode, it seems as if Demi Lovato’s song “Sorry Not Sorry” would be a part of the musical score if the scene was set in modern-day.
In this eight-episode series, Spencer portrays a humble woman originally named Sarah Breedlove, who grew up in slavery right before emancipation. Judgments were passed onto her not only about the color of her skin but also because of her balding hair. This led to constantly feeling that the only thing she would amount to was nothing. Like the angel Gabriel, a woman named Addie Monroe came knocking at her door, hoping to sell a tin of specially made hair product for African American hair. Little did Addie know her business transaction would turn Sarah Breedlove into one of the biggest female names of the early 20th Century.
Sarah Breedlove, famously known as Madame C.J. Walker, was up for a fight for success, literally. The creators of the show ingeniously represent Madame C.J. Walker’s rivalry with Addie Monroe with a paralleled boxing match. Once a friend to Madame C.J. Walker, Addie Monroe turned on her and said Sarah wasn’t pretty enough to sell her hair products. That brought a Pow!, a punch right in Walker’s face. Madame C.J. Walker stood back up on her feet and kept pursuing her career. When Walker’s business grew successfully, Kabam!, she punched Addie Monroe right back. While their competition is demonstrated with this analogy, the countless other struggles of Madame C.J. Walker spoke for themselves. Traumatic events such as beatings from her husband and being cheated on only made this woman’s working drive stronger.
The quality and filming techniques of this series paired with the sentiment of persevering produce a binge-all-in-one-day sort of show (I can attest to it). Thanks to the star-studded cast of producers, including LeBron James and Maverick Carter, they brought ambition, which is very much needed during this time of e-school and quarantine, right onto the screen at home. This show is fiery, it’s fresh in an old fashion way, and it’s bound to leave the feeling of “I can do anything, and no one is going to stop me.”