NBA star LeBron James and actress Octavia Spencer are joining forces to create a series about the first black woman to become a self-made millionaire, Madam C.J. Walker.
Through his SpringHill Entertainment, James is executive producing his company’s first scripted drama based on Walker’s life as an entrepreneur and activist, Variety reports. Spencer, who “aggressively pursued,” as noted by the news outlet, the part after hearing about the project, will star as Walker. The Oscar winner posted about the news on her Instagram.
The company’s co-founder Maverick Carter, will co-produce the series. Nicole Asher is set to write and executive produce and Kasi Lemmons will direct the pilot.
The limited series is likely to premiere on Netflix, per Variety. It’s based on the book On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles, the great-great-granddaughter of Walker. Bundles will be a consultant for the project. She tweeted about her excitement on Tuesday.
“I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James said in a statement to Variety. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist, and total game changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”
Walker, born as Sarah Breedlove, is an American icon who was born in 1867 on a cotton plantation near Delta, Louisiana to recently freed slaves. For 20 years, Walker earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. She developed a scalp disorder in the 1890s that caused her to lose hair and prompted her to experiment with home remedies and other treatments. She went on to create and patent a treatment for black hair and successfully launched a line of hair care products for black people.