Netflix continues to grow its cast for Madam CJ Walker. Bill Bellamy, known for his portrayal of Terry Jackson in The Bounce Back, has joined Octavia Spencer in her new limited series Madam CJ Walker. Bellamy got his start as a stand-up comedian through performances on Comedy Def Jam back in the 1990s.
Bellamy will be playing Sweetness in the show. Sweetness is a smart and savvy numbers banker who is inspired by the success of Madam Walker, and he will work any angle he can go get in good with her no matter the cost. Other members of the cast include Octavia Spencer who will be playing Madam CJ Walker.
Other cast members include Tiffany Haddish who will play Lelia. Lelia is a smart and feisty daughter of Sarah Breedlove, also known as Madam CJ Walker. Lelia was raised by her single and hard-working mother and she craves independence. After she falls in love and marries the feeble. John Robinson, played by J. Alphonse Nicholson, she finds herself having to come to her husband’s defense.
Blair Underwood will play Chares James “CJ” Walker. Chares is Sarah’s husband and he is incredibly supportive and encouraging of Sarah’s hair product business, which he runs with her. He has a way of keeping Sarah calm and soothing her worries, but soon he grows concerned about her increasing stress over the ups and downs of her business.
Garret Morris will play Cleophus. Cleophus is CJ’s father, and a former slave who lives with CJ and Sarah. He gets along with Sarah and helps in her hair product business.
Carmen Ejogo will play Addie. Addie is a hairstylist and former friend of Sarah’s. She is a savvy business woman and works off of her good looks and social standing to create a profitable African American hair care business. She is fiercely competitive, and when she dismisses Sarah’s ambitions to one of her sales women she inadvertently becomes Sarah’s nemesis and rival.
Kevin Carroll will play Ransom. Ransom is a Pullman porter whose numerous degrees from Columbia University include law and patents. When he agrees to help Sarah with her product’s patents and becomes her company’s lawyer he does his best to pull her back from risky expansion and efforts.
The show is based on the book On Her Own Ground by A’Lelia Bundles. Bundles is Walker’s great-great-granddaughter. According to Netflix, the limited series, “tells the untold, culturally important, and highly relevant story of black hair care pioneer and mogul Madam CJ Walker and show she overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages, and family challenges to become America’s first black, self-made female millionaire.”
The series is a four-part limited series that will be executive produced by LeBron James and Octavia Spencer. Nicole Jefferson Asher is also set to co-executive produce and write the series. Janine Sherman Barrois and Elle Johnson will showrun, write, and executive produce the series. Other executive producers include Christine Holder, Mark Holder, Maverick Carter, and Jamal Henderson. Kasi Lemmons is set to direct and executive produce the first episode.
The series will air on Netflix in 2020.