Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer and basketball great LeBron James are teaming up on a new Netflix series. Exciting news, especially as James continues to expand his production credits. But what is most interesting about this new partnership is the fact that Spencer says the Los Angeles Lakers superstar helped her negotiate for equal pay for the Netflix series, which is about African-American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, reported the Bleacher Report.
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James, who has several shows in the works including the scripted series “Survivor’s Remorse” now in its third season on Starz, stepped in when Spencer wasn’t getting equal pay.
During a panel at the recent Sundance Film Festival, Spencer revealed, “I have to say, when I was negotiating my deal for ‘Madam C.J. Walker,’ LeBron James had to intervene,”
She added: “We need all our male counterparts to be in the fight with us.”
“Madam C.J. Walker” will be executive produced by Spencer (through her production company Orit Entertainment) and James. The eight-episode series is based on the book “On Our Own Ground” by A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter. Bundles will also serve as a consultant. James and Maverick Carter, co-founder of their production company SpringHill Entertainment, signed on to produce the scripted drama. Kasi Lemmons (“Eve’s Bayou”) will direct the pilot and executive produce.
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“The series will recount the untold story of how Walker, a Black hair care pioneer and mogul, overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and some trifling family to become America’s first Black, self-made female millionaire,” Variety reported.
“I am really proud of this project and that SpringHill will be partnering with Octavia to tell this important story,” James told the Undefeated. “Every American should all know the story of Madam C.J. Walker. She was an innovator, entrepreneur, social activist and total game-changer whose story has been left out of the history books. I hope this project lives up to her legacy with a story that will educate and inspire.”
Getting equal pay in Hollywood has been a long-time problem and many are finally speaking out.
“Among Forbes’ list of highest paid actresses in 2017, not one Black star ranked among them, and there was only one — Kerry Washington — on the magazine’s list of highest-earning actresses on TV, despite women like Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson and Danai Gurira starring on three of the most popular shows on air,” Essence reported.