Lessons from the Madam CJ Walker Story

Self-Made, The Madam CJ Walker, limited series dropped on Netflix recently and I was hooked from start to the finish. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, this huge part of black women’s history is not only inspirational but will force us to reevaluate our goals and step in some necks. The launch is also in the middle of the global pandemic of the CoronaVirus so to say we NEEDED this is an understatement. Things have surely changed since then and were the Madam on point when she said that female enterprise is our future? She certainly was! Whether they’re in your circles or not, there are so many female entrepreneurs around, especially black female entrepreneurs.  Folks will harp on the parts that failed historically and completely miss the big picture. 

Here are the top 5 things I loved about Self-Made.

  1. Stop hating and start collaborating.

Addie and Sarah’s business and personal albeit nonexistent, the relationship is definitely one we NEED to talk about. From colorism to body issues, we can seriously identify some of the things women, especially black women experience in entrepreneurship. The comparison and competition have been the killer of most female relationships since the beginning of time.  Collaboration not competition has been the cry of many female empowerment movements because as Sarah clearly pointed out, “we do so much better together”

  1. Black Men supporting Black Women will always win.

Whether or not that conversation with Booker T. Washington actually happened. It’s a damn shame. Can you imagine having a groundbreaking idea but instead of support, a prominent figure like Booker is going to tell you to have a seat and let the men shine? The nerve but such an inspiration for us.  Let me not get started about dear old CJ, the husband. If your significant other is a hater, rethink that relationship. You don’t need a man’s validation to make your dreams come true and support will come. Mr. Ransom’s support is proof of that. Sarah’s story showed us that too. It is no secret that having a strong black woman leading is a win-win situation. 

  1. Believe in your legacy

In all of my blog posts, here or over at The Miki Chronicles; I never let up on the thought of believing in your legacy.  My blogging, entrepreneurship and everything else I’ve been dabbling in are rooted in making sure my legacy is set. I might not have offspring yet but I have nieces and nephews I know are watching. Sarah Breedlove’s tenacity will live on for centuries to come and if that’s not immortality,  I don’t know what is.

  1. Ignore the naysayers

This speaks for itself. But can you imagine if Sarah had listened to CJ about not expanding? Or anyone else who had something negative to say about her and her business. As an entrepreneur, I can say to you that the no’s will come and it’s best to take it with a grain of salt and reread point #4. The no’s are your motivation because guess what, if all you got were yesses and support, we probably would not dabble here and there and exercise the highest form of innovation. 

  1. History is up to you! 

Madam CJ Walker knew we’d be talking about her. Off the top of my head, I can list a number of black female entrepreneurs who will be talked about a hundred years ago. Yes, we WILL survive the CoronaVirus. No matter where you are in your “little” business, you are much further than you were a year ago and no one can take that away from you. 

While we’re how many odd days into social distancing and practicing what we need to stay alive. Let’s take the time to understand the power of our stories. What legacies are we leaving and while we still have the time, skills, and effort, h0w are we building?  So, it’s time to collaborate, believe in each other and lend unwavering support to our people. There is strength in the community. 


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