Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (TV Mini-Series 2020) - Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (TV Mini-Series 2020) - User Reviews - IMDb
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2/10
Full of Historical Inaccuracies & Riddled With Ridiculous Stereotypes
syd990720 March 2020
I'm a history buff and when I heard that Netflix and Octavia Spenser were working on a story about Madam C.J. Walker I was excited. Then the more I read about the limited series, the more I knew I would be disappointed and I was. Madam C.J. Walker was not the first millionaire, that was Annie Malone, who Walker worked for. Malone was worth about 14 million at the turn of the century and in today's money. that would be roughly over 400 million. Malone was the first to invent hair-care products, the first to invent the straightening comb, and the first to have distribution of her hair-care products. And Walker actually tried to steal her formulas and ideas. Here, Malone's name has been changed to Addie Munroe, played by Carmen Ejogo, and she is a very unsympathetic character, who is biracial, and a hardcore colorist with "good hair". Which by all historical indications, Annie Malone was none of that. This portrayal simply perpetuates the battle within the Black community of having a light complexion means you're better, and being darker, means you're considered less attractive and undesirable. And quite frankly, it's a notion that should be put to rest for good.

Spencer portrays Walker as a wildly insecure woman because of her looks, who is driven to prove to the world and her rival "Addie", that her color is not a deterrent to success, nor is her gender. She emasculates her 2nd husband, and in this series, he's a little more than a bit player in Walker's life, and the series continues in this cringe-worthy direction and doesn't give the audience any real insight into Walker's business acumen, but throws her insecurities in our faces like a hail-storm and it does Walker's legacy no justice whatsoever.

This limited series was a missed opportunity to really delve into Walker's life, and celebrate what a Black woman managed to accomplish during a time when Black people, especially Black women, were invisible and considered second class citizens. This series was basically a rivalry between two women, one light, one dark, and from there it went completely off the rails and down the cliff and burst into flames. And the puzzling part is that it glossed over the rabid racism of the era and tried to make the audience think that it didn't exist. We're talking about the turn of the century. Let that sink in. Finally, why was Tiffany Haddish even in this? She played Walker's daughter, and her character was so grossly underdeveloped that you actually felt sorry for Haddish. And let's not get into the low production value...no words.
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3/10
A wasted opportunity, should have been so much better!
phowardpitts21 March 2020
I know that the movie says it was "inspired by", meaning loosely based, but the production team knew better and should have done better, artistic license be d**&$#!

Virtually every female actor, with a speaking role, that was lighter than medium or light brown was stereotyped as some type of villain. Casting & producers went out of their way to make sure to play up a one way color hatred narrative.

The thinly disguised character of Addie, who was suppose to be Annie Malone, was ridiculous and a work of fiction, created to manufacture untruths between the women. The movie did a great disservice to Annie Malone, who was more likely a millionaire before Madam Walker and very philanthropic in her own right.

The movie also did a disservice to Mrs. Walker's story. An opportunity wasted for many viewers to get a more accurate story of her life.

Unfortunately many people will take this created and stylized version as truth (which people tend to do because it was on TV) and won't really seek out the more accurate story.
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5/10
Why the dramatisation
daniela-rausch22 March 2020
It is clear in the movie that Addie Munroe is a portrait of the real life figure of Annie Malone, Madam CJ Walker's mentor. Why is she portrayed so negatively? In real life she was a successful business woman alongside CJ Walker, philanthropist and equal rights advocate. Is there really no space for 2 successful business women alongside each other? It is a pity that something marketed as a biography has such a major misrepresentation. Otherwise it was a good movie. Interesting contrasts between the old time setting and modern music and scenes.
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7/10
Good movie, bad depiction
realmenconnect22 March 2020
The entertainment value of this series was really good. It kept my attention, and I thought it did a decent job not overly painting Madame CJ Walker as a flawless she-roe. However, it really does a disservice to the historical truth about her story. I gave it a 7 for its entertainment value, but I'm begging you, if you REALLY want to know the truth about Madame CJ Walker, who WASN'T the first female self-made millionaire (Annie Malone was - Walker's boss), please READ and not stop at watching this made-for-Netflix series. Revising history for entertainment isn't fair to the descendants of these great people. And I'm sure our heroes themselves wouldn't appreciate it either.
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5/10
Entertaining but inaccurate
m-elle-kat23 April 2020
Before this series I had never heard about Mme CJ Walker or Annie Malone so it did introduce me to the subject. Then I found out the truth. There is no need for them to create a new narrative especially at the cost of slandering someone in this case Annie Malone and putting the other, Mme CJ Walker on a pedestal. They could have done a much more thoughtful and accurate portrayal. Also I think it would have been better without the modern music. It's entertaining enough but the depiction should be taken with a grain of salt.
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2/10
Too Many Creative Liberties
view_and_review25 March 2020
I had to stop watching. I think the women who wrote this took a little too many liberties with the script. I'm not very familiar with Madam C.J. Walker other than she was the first Black female millionaire. The road she took, the obstacles she faced, and the particulars of how she got there, I don't know.

However, I've read Booker T. Washington's book, "Up From Slavery", and I've read other things about him, so to put words in his mouth as though he was an opponent to Madam C.J. Walker simply because she was a woman is reckless. The very idea that Black folks had time to bicker over gender superiority when we were getting beat, lynched, and marginalized is absurd. We were in the mud together. The implication that Booker T. was concerned that a Black woman may be able to out earn a Black man is ludicrous because it was already happening anyway. If Black men weren't on a chain gang, hanging from a tree, or being shut out of work, they barely earned more than the Black women.

Without continuing to rant I'll just say that I'm not a fan of historical dramas that focus more on drama. Madam C.J. Walker was an amazing woman anyway without having to make her story appeal to a 21st century audience. Tell her story straight and factual and if people don't like it--tough.
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1/10
Who signed off on this series???!!!!
nikkah-8584328 March 2020
Did the writers do any research at all???!!!! This was a pure mockery of the Legacy of the Walker's and the Malone's. This was just a lazy effort to get something done. All of the characters depicted deserved much more than this. So much more.
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8/10
Great Series - But...
Thenewt4520 March 2020
Rule#1: Never rely on films & TV to learn history - that's what in-depth reading & research is for.

I would hope viewers would watch this and then get inspired to delve deeper & research the real life of Madame C.J. Walker. As an entertainment piece & catalyst to inspire further learning I give it 8 stars.

I do have a particular dislike of hearing modern contemporary music in period pieces. I like to feel transported to the time & imagine the America my grandparents & great-grandparents experienced. When the rap lyrics start - it kills the mood of the period - Like Christopher Reeve thrust back to the present after seeing a 1979 penny in "Somewhere in Time"!

I know some productions like to do this (Example - WGN's "Underground" series). I can only imagine this is designed to attract younger audiences who may not find historical films as appealing - but I find it very annoying. Can't imagine "Downton Abbey" with a Beyoncé or Taylor Swift soundtrack!
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6/10
Bad production
gomeshoeppner20 March 2020
The contemporary music and the boxing match in a period movie are unnecessary and plain wrong. This was supposed to be an excellent inspiring period series.
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4/10
Nooo, such a wasted opportunity..
emily-smil24 March 2020
Was stoked to see Octavia starring in a 'based on true events' series set in the early 1900s, my favorite kind of setting! The story itself is really interesting, also an important and still relevant topic. Unfortunately not a well executed show. The modern take on it, the soundtrack and the boxing analogy is just wrooong and so disappointing... Ruins the "mood".. almost making it kind of ridiculous. Reminds me of the series "Reign" where the soundtrack mixed with a sense of non-authentic feel around directing/storyline just completely threw me off. Same thing here, I'm sorry to say. Giving it a 4 purly based on the fact that Octavia is an amazing actress.
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6/10
Great idea, execution could've been better
annemariepaarden30 March 2020
This show had great entertainment quality and the actors did a good job. I was very stoked to hear about this series and to see Octivia Spencer and Tiffany Haddish being part of the cast. The actors did a fantastic job. I loved the sets and clothes as well. I love myself some documentairy mixed with drama based on true historic events, but unfortunately, after seeing this series and reading about the inspiration for this miniseries, I was very dissapointed in the way the writers represented Madame C.J. Walker, Addie Monroe (who's character is based on Annie Malone) and other characters. It's not necessarily a bad thing when you add something of your own into a series that's based on real events, but it is when you put in too many inaccuracies or big ones. In this case, we were given a mixture of both. Too bad, since they had one hell of a cast.
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4/10
Terrible
kathoefgen11 April 2020
As a history buff, performing arts professional, and life-long Indianapolis area resident, I am not afraid to say that DeMane Davis and Kasi Lemmons should be ashamed of their "effort" here and ran out of the business. Sure, no biography can be exactly right, but the historical inaccuracies in this are way over the top. The characters, timeline, and interactions are all way off. And the boxing and fantasy scenes? What on Earth were they thinking? Finally, it was bad enough this was not filmed in Indiana (thanks for that lost revenue), but clearly, they either did no research or not nearly enough. If they think Indianapolis looked or was represented like that in 1910, they are out of their minds. The "Indianapolis" scenes are obviously just made up with no basis in fact. There's a fine line between suspension of disbelief and uneducated fabrication. They crossed that line.
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6/10
This inspiring woman deserved better
fkeal-209593 April 2020
Was very happy to see that a miniseries about Madame CJ Walker was in the works. Unfortunately this series did not live up to expectations. The writers focused on the more soap opera aspects of her life and completely shorted her on all of her accomplishments. I know that no biography is going to stick 100% to the facts but this one took a great many liberties, all to the detriment of its subject. Madame CJ was a big success long before this series portrays that. Was expecting a much better treatment of this icon.
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1/10
HATED IT!! HATED IT HATED IT!! DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!
babinefertiti28 March 2020
I wanted to like this movie really bad but it was TRASH! First the INACCURACY!! What is the point of creating this character that is a fictional version of the real woman who is also A HERO but was slandered in this movie for absolutely NO REASON AT ALL! This was supposed to be a historical recount of a Black womans rise in a white mans world and instead they turned it into a stupid Light skin vs. Dark Skin tale! I am thoroughly disappointed in this movie as a black woman and even more disappointed that another Black woman wrote this trash! I'll be waiting for the documentary. Also they way they modernized a historical piece... for what?? These kids don't need more entertainment they need knowledge pride in themselves. Not to mention the stupidity of every 5 mins a fantasy boxing match going on in this brilliant woman's mind. Like really DO BETTER!! This movie was a waste of time I cut it off mid episode 2 to reclaim my time. I don't recommend get a book it will be way better!
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3/10
How Dare They
Peachesnkream1129 March 2020
The total disregard for Madam C.J. Walker and Annie Malone's legacy is disgusting. And the fact that this was created by and written by black women!? Shameful. First of all, this is a biopic, make it a biopic. What's with the modern music and boxing ring? I'm probably in the minority, but I hated that element. The story could be just as thoughtfully told if kept in their time period. If they wanted to be all style and no substance fine, but then at least have the styling so on point that I can't look away. They didn't even do that right. So not only did they fabricate a new Annie Malone and Lelia Walker, they couldn't even make it interesting. Octavia Spencer and Blair Underwood tried really, REALLY hard, they made a fool out of Carmen Ejogo, and Tiffany Haddish should not do serious roles unless she is made to take acting lessons. With the subject matter and the actors hired, this could have been a real award contender, instead it should be forgotten and quietly buried.
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8/10
Brilliant story, beautiful costumes
samabc-3195217 October 2020
Octavia Spencer as Madam CJ Walker. I started watching it .. brilliant story of a woman's grit, strength and conviction!! beautiful costumes with strong black, female characters in the early 1900's.
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7/10
Music?
L_Gabriel21 March 2020
This background music in the 1900's ??? Baffled!!.
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1/10
Unwatchable
JonathanWalford23 March 2020
So sad to squander an opportunity like this to make an important film about black history. I kind of knew from the outset that this was likely a hot mess -- two directors, 4 writers, no mention of a costume designer, an actress playing the daughter of another actress who is only 7 years younger and it looks like it too -- these are signs of trouble... and nobody looks happy about being in the film, including Octavia. This film is plain awful. I watched half of the first episode before I began skipping through the rest to watch scenes, but it never got better.
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6/10
Could be better!
jaywes-5108621 March 2020
It's ok I just hate the new music and modern day antics added to it, should have stuck to her true story and just made a while biopic geesh!!!!!
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8/10
Overall Well Made
debpyburn21 March 2020
I appreciate the retelling of her story while also taking some creative liberties (it is the 21st century and Netflix).

There was one goof obvious to Spelman alumnae. They mention "Spelman College" and at the time this film was set it, the school has not made it's name change yet. I believe they should have just said "Spelman" or "Spelman Baptist Seminary" as it would not become Spelman College until 1924.
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10/10
Couldn't Stop Watching
apartagas22 March 2020
Historical data aside, I loved the story, the script, the production, the fight scenes and the music. I was in Madam Walkers court from the get-go. Regardless of her 'real biography', this woman overcame daggers in her back on a daily basis and THAT is what her story is about.

As far as the reviews concerning the slant towards light-skinned women...he'll, it's true! Light-skinned women were treated differently! Let's don't try to paint that as being fictitious.

Great mini series. Loved it and love Octavia.
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10/10
Great movie
romeovision200220 March 2020
I read reviews about this being too glossy and not realistic but I say stop nitpicking them series! All I need is good acting and a story that tell of the history of a black woman who became the first black female millionaire. I enjoyed everything I saw!
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1/10
A disgrace: Sad tale of a wonderful woman!
hiphopphotos25 March 2020
I've desperately tried to understand what the producer and or the director was trying to convey-the music was a disgrace and the 'boxing match' inserts made no sense. This movie was the film i've been waiting for and I'm extremely saddened that they made this film a joke! The actors were great in terms of the casting, but the comedic elements-was on some dumb stuff. 'Hated it!'
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Nice story, decent production, horrible soundtrack...
Sunset1008621 March 2020
I would have rated this title with 9 stars if it had not been for the soundtrack choice.
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2/10
A mixed up mess
judgewashington24 March 2020
Yes, Octavia Spencer is wonderful as Madam C.J. Walker, but the production is a mess. They kept adding modern music to the score, as well as these dream-like sequences, ruining the historical perspective. The story is supposed to take place over 15 years, and no one ages a day. Tiffany Haddish does absolutely nothing with a role that was poorly written to begin with, and this will do nothing for her career. The historical inaccuracies are far too mammoth to even note. A USCLA film student could have edited this disaster and made it look far better. Watch it only if you're quarantined or trapped indoors.
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