Last year, Netflix announced a limited series based on the life of entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, with LeBron James slated to produce and Octavia Spencer onboard to play the titular hair mogul. Now, Netflix’s Twitter account Strong Black Lead has shared some other exciting casting news: Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Blair Underwood, and Garrett Morris will all join Spencer in the historical series.
The daughter of slaves, Walker became famous for her status as the first Black woman millionaire in America. After suffering a scalp condition that caused hair loss, Walker worked tirelessly to find a formula that would promote hair growth. She did: Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower launched a business that became enormously profitable. Before her death in 1919, Walker was renowned as a highly-successful business woman, a philanthropist, and activist for the Black community.
Haddish will portray Lelia, the “smart and feisty” daughter of Walker, per Deadline. Haddish was most recently seen in her first big dramatic role in The Kitchen, where she portrayed a up-and-coming mobster hellbent on taking over the Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen.
Carmen Ejogo will play Addie “nemesis and rival” of Walker, who turns down Walker’s offer to become a saleswoman for her company. On the flip side, Blair Underwood will portray Walker’s “supportive” husband who knows how to calm her down when the stress of the business becomes too much. Garrett Morris of 2 Broke Girls will star as Walker’s father, a former slave, while Kevin Carroll of Snowfall joins the cast as Ransom, a man who will become Walker’s company lawyer.
The upcoming Netflix series is written by Nicole Asher and based on the book On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles — who just so happens to be Walker's great-great-granddaughter. No release date has been revealed for the project.