Why is she Mrs. C.J. Walker? It really was a matter of her trying to insist that people respect her, because during that time, white people would call any black woman 'Sally.' 'Aunt Sally.' So this was like... you can't call me that.
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.
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.
There is a core of people who know and love Madam C.J. Walker, but there's a much larger audience who don't really know about her. I think 'Self Made' will give people a window into her life.
I love people who have really long locs. I love how they can go in different directions or pile it up into a big crown on the head.
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.
One of the key things for me about Madame Walker's life is that she really does represent this first generation out of slavery when black people were reinventing themselves, and as a woman who was the first child in her family born free, she was trying to figure out a way, and she moved from Delta, Louisiana.
Madam Walker, as part of the first generation out of slavery, really was inventing the way that she operated in the world.
A lot of people think Oprah is channeling for Madam Walker, and there are lots of parallels.
For all my life, I've been trying to tell Madam's story and really it's a labor of love just to make sure people know about her and the empowerment she gave to other women.