The inspiring true tale of Madam CJ Walker, black female pioneer, beauty icon and self made millionaire is a tour-de-force of smashing glass ceilings and challenging racial inequality as the USA navigated the choppy societal waters of the Emancipation Act.
Octavia Spencer delivers an unstoppable performance as Walker who has endured years of living in an abusive relationship and low paid work as a washer woman to higher society. Down on her confidence she is approached by sassy and feisty self starter Addie who offers to repair her confidence, starting by saving CJ’s hair which is falling out due to stress and depression.
Using Addie’s miracle hair grow cream, soon CJ is a revitalised woman who feels as though she can take on the world and thus is no longer satisfied with her station in life. Setting off on the adventure of starting her own business, Walker encounters multiple personal and professional obstacles including resentment and jealousy from those she is close to and enemies alike.
One of my favourite performances in the show comes in the guise of Garrett Morris as Cleophus Walker- the father of CJ’s new husband. A voice of fairness and always on hand to lift spirits, he has lived through the dying days of working on the plantations and has a child like enthusiasm that belies his advancing years.
The producers do an amazing job transporting the audience back to the early 1900’s while also emphasising the spectre of slavery and hardship which lurked in the backstory of millions of black people trying to make their way in America.
A great show to watch with the family and something to feel inspired by.
Viewed: December 2020