Madam Walker was a master marketer. But her brilliance was in taking it to another level by training women, by traveling, by making very motivational speeches and by providing independent income for women who otherwise would have to be maids and sharecroppers.
Every ethnic group has a mythology... Until 'Roots'... there was nothing in the popular culture to refute the paragraph in elementary school history class that said, 'Slaves picked the cotton, were happy and life wasn't so bad.'
A'Lelia Walker did not subsidize specific writers, but she provided a place for all kinds of people to gather. She was one of the few blacks who had the money to allow her to entertain in the large scale.
It's very hard to be a kid, especially in a predominantly white school or white town where other people want to police your body and hair.
It takes a long time, I think, to get to the place where you realize you may love the hairstyle that somebody else has.
From the beginning, Madam C. J. Walker's message was as much about hair and beauty as it was about empowering other women. She knew that confidence and self-assurance are key ingredients to success, and that true beauty comes from within.
And mothers and daughters - mothers need to help their daughters love their hair. And some mothers know how to do this, and some mothers help their daughters love their hair.
Both my parents worked at the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company, with my dad eventually being hired by another company called Summit Laboratories that made chemical hair straighteners.
I have lived almost seven decades. So I've had my hair journey where I wasn't comfortable with my hair.
Madame Walker was one of the four iconic women who really created what's now the modern hair-care and cosmetics industry, and we know about her in the black community because everybody gets their hair done.