Here’s my Review of the Self Made Netflix Series since I know a lot of us are quarantining and chilling right now. You’ve probably been watching a ton of YouTube and if so you may have already come across Self Made, a Netflix Original Series inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. If not, then you need to watch it. It was a great look at how things were done back then. There are a lot of mixed reviews out there about the accuracy of the story as it pertains or her actual life.
Here’s my review on the Self Made Netflix Series. I wasn’t at all put off by the story line or time line of the events and I explain why below. All in all, as an almost married woman in business whose currently building her empire, I am inspired.
Feminism Themes in the Self Made Netflix Series
This movie showcased what Feminism looks like in the 1800s. The waves of Feminism most people are familiar, took place in the 1900s. When in fact, Feminism first appeared around the 1850s . This makes a lot of sense considering that Madam CJ Walker was born in 1867. While she may not have actually been the first Self-Made Millionaires, she did a really good job of branding her empire and while making sure that her brand was everywhere. There were other successful women in business who undoubtedly paved the way for Madame including her former boss Annie Malone.
In fact, many historians argue that Annie Malone was the first self-made millionaires. If you’ve had the chance to watch the series then you’ll realize Addie Munroe was loosely based on Malone.
In real life, Walker did, in fact, work for Annie selling her hair care product first, while developing her own products based on the formula Annie used. She worked for Annie while laying the blueprint to eventually start her own company. However, it is to be mentioned that if there was no Annie then there probably would have not been a Madame.
It took one woman to believe in equal rights during that time as a woman in business to pave the way for other women. It is said that there were many other women who used that same formula long before Annie or Walker are even thought of.
Women in Power Not Accepted Then
During the movie, Walker challenges the status quo on more than one occasion. Walker wanted to be front in center of her brand. Even though the men kept telling her to get in the back and let her husband handle everything, she couldn’t accept that. She knew she had something good and that she was the only one that could sell the brand the way it needs to be sold. Her husband even ended up resenting her success which resulted in his infidelity and eventually a divorce. At one point in the movie, Walker gives an empowering speech to a group of ambitious women.
These women while successful in their careers, did not want to challenge the status quo. I personally think that it wasn’t a matter of if they wanted to be respected as equal, rather the perception that they would never be. So, instead of fighting with the majority, they were content with being quiet and standing in the back where there was no unnecessary conflict.
First Black Female Millionaire?
Many people had a lot to say about the way that Malone was portrayed. The public felt she was portrayed in a negative light. Many people also didn’t like how they made colorism apart of the storyline. While those may not have been true events between Walker and Malone (though we’d never know), it is known that colorism is a huge problem in the African American community even today. Colorism has long been used as one way to tear us apart and keep us separated. Rival or not, it is at least evident that the Madame was in one-way shape or form inspired by Addie Munroe(Annie Malone).
Why I’m Inspired by the Self Made Netflix Series ?
As a Black woman in business, I found this portrayal whether largely fiction or not, to be inspiring. Walker’s ambition and drive showed us what it truly takes to be successful in entrepreneurship and business building. One must be diligent. when you receive a vision of your purpose from God, you’re responsible to be obedient to that calling no matter what. Madam was a visionary and a house hold brand.
What you can learn from this movie is the importance of branding. Where the Madam failed is she allows herself to be perceived as a negligent wife. Whether this perception is accurately portrayed or not, I have my two cents about this as a Millennial marriage blogger. First off, CJ’s father attempted to warn him about the way he was going about his marriage. CJ chose to deal with things without really dealing with things. CJ’s character seems like a really nice man and a good husband but eventually he goes on to resent the Madam.
I’m actually glad that this theme is presented. It goes to show you what happens when your marriage starts to lack GOD. Regardless of what we have going on in our lives we must remember that we are HUSBAND AND WIFE FIRST. So, I say both are wrong in how things are handled. We must recognize that we are husband and wife first, God has placed a calling on all of our lives. God calls us to be more than just someone’s husband and wife.
While this movie may not have been completely accurate, the story line teaches us a lot about history. It shows how far we’ve come and life in general. One of the main reasons I chose to Review Self Made, the Netflix Series. Whether I deem it to be accurate and will be rewatching over this quarantined weekend. If you’d like to see other reviews on this , a Youtuber Lailah Lynn posted a video called The Biggest Lies Told in Self Made, the Netflix Series inspired by the Life of Madame CJ Walker. In her video, she not only points out the lies but also enlightens us with the actual truth based on historic research. If you watched this series, please do let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.