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THE RELIGION CORNER: : The Story of ‘Self-Made’ Madam C.J. Walker

I am not merely satisfied in making money for myself, for I am endeavoring to provide employment for hundreds of women of my race. … I want to say to every Negro woman present, don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them! — Madam C.J. Walker

On March 20, Netflix kicked off “Self-Made,” the four-part story of the life of Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madam C.J. Walker, the first female millionaire in America. My first surprise was when I learned the initials “C.J.” came after she married her second husband, Charles Joseph Walker, whom everybody called C.J.

The movie is inspired by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, a D.C. resident and my honorary sister of Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. She said to me in an email, “Octavia [Spencer] does a fantastic job of conveying Madam Walker’s courage and tenacity and showing the challenges of building a business. I hope after seeing the fictionalized Hollywood version, many people will want to read my books! ‘On Her Own Ground,’ the inspiration for the series, has been renamed ‘Self Made’ to tie in with the movie. I’ve written a new epilogue and also recorded the audio book.”

A’Lelia was my special guest on “The Lyndia Grant Show” on Dec. 7, 2018, during which she told Spirit 1340 listeners about this exciting new Netflix movie being filmed at the time of her interview. I promised to help promote the show, so I’m keeping my word, especially since this exciting movie has come out during Women’s History Month.

In the opening scene, Sarah Breedlove reunites with her first husband on his first day home from prison. He was glad to see her until her scarf fell off, and she had bald spots all over her head. He beat her severely, cut her arm with a broken whiskey bottle and told her, “you look like a mangy dog!” Then he left!

She shed tears, calling herself ugly. As we know, to “count it all joy,” like Scripture tells us to do, is easier said than done. We must ask what many might think is a silly question: Why must we face such horrific trials and tribulations and why are we told to count them all joy? Is there a right way and a wrong way to approach trials?

1 Peter 1:7 says where the testing of our faith is compared, is like comparing it to the quality and purity of gold. The book of James tells us to have a purpose. When we have a purpose, no matter what seems to come up against us, we will dodge bullets and come out of the trials without missing one step. You are on a mission, and nothing will stop you.

You will see how Sarah Breedlove did this very thing. The Holy Spirit was with her and for you too, when you walk in your anointed purpose!

Have you found yourself stunned, sitting in the middle of a dark place, wondering, “How did this happen to me?” Did you feel so shocked by what just happened to you that you could not pray? Yet the Lord knew just how you felt. Could it all have been a test? The tears Sarah Breedlove shed helped shape her future, and she never stopped dreaming.

Without giving away the whole story, I’m delighted to share how wonderful this movie is! I’ve watched the series four times over a two-day period. It is truly worth watching to learn how Madam C.J. Walker became so rich while helping others. She beat every woman, Black or white, to becoming the U.S.’s first female millionaire. That title is hers for all eternity.

Though, according to an email message from great-great-granddaughter A’Lelia Bundles, this is a fictional story based on facts, tune in to “Self-Made” during this pandemic and enjoy. Also, order a copy of A’Lelia’s book and read the true story of Madam C.J. Walker.

Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email lyndiagrantshowdc@gmail.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.

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Lyndia Grant

A seasoned radio talk show host, national newspaper columnist, and major special events manager, Lyndia is a change agent. Those who experience hearing messages by this powerhouse speaker are changed forever!

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