Following her Oscar-nominated role in “Hidden Figures,” Octavia Spencer is set to portray another trailblazer in a series produced by LeBron James. The limited, still untitled series will focus on the life of entrepreneur and social activist, Madam C.J. Walker, according to a report by Variety. Walker, who died in 1919, is recognized as the first black self-made female millionaire in America.
The show, which could land at Netflix, will be the first drama produced by James and business partner Maverick Carter’s SpringHill Entertainment. The company has produced several shows including the comedy “Survivor’s Remorse” on Starz, the game show “The Wall” on NBC and “Cleveland Hustles” on CNBC.
While no release date has been determined and he’s not ready to reveal specifics about the content on his second album, Lillard has been in the studio for seven straight days working on the project, which has support from some of hip-hop’s most prominent figures, including Lil Wayne and super producer Scott Storch. “Yeah, it’s just been a lot of traffic [in the studio],” Lillard says. “People heard the first album and they respected it. I’m pretty sure they can feel the vibe of this next one and it’s going to be better than the first one. So, we’re going to get into it. I’ve been on the phone with other artists to make it big.”
Many of today’s hip-hop tracks consist of only catchy hooks or foot-stomping beats, knowing clubs and radio stations will typically make way for those songs in regular rotations. But Lillard seeks for his music to go beyond that and into the realms of social consciousness. He expounds on his rough east Oakland upbringing, touches on his journey from rags to riches, rebukes hate and encourages the embracing of originality and cultures. There will be some songs where he’s just having fun, but overall, he tries to stimulate the consumer’s mind. “I love to do music,” Lillard says. “I want to have hit records, but I’m not searching to say, ‘All right, I need this to be in the club, I need this, that.’ I’m just making quality music. There’s things I want to tell, there’s things that I want to share and I want to have it in my music. The people that say he needs a club banger, he need this or he needs that, then my music isn’t going to be for them.”
“It’s therapy for sure,” Lillard says. “It allows me to put my thoughts on paper and not hold so much inside, whereas I might think about something and put it in a record. So if something is said about me, it will run in my mind and I might address it in a rhyme. Not that I’m taking a shot, but I’m just addressing what I was thinking at the time and it just came out. It allows me to take that angle and to just express myself and to share my feelings and my thoughts. When you listen to my music, you’re going to know that you’re getting the real me, my real thoughts and feelings. …
“The Carter Effect” will premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival and is UNINTERRUPTED’s second documentary directed by Sean Menard and is Executive Produced by: LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Drake and Adel Future Nur. In addition to eight-time NBA All-Star, Vince Carter, the film features: Toronto native and rapper, Drake, eight-time NBA All-Star and Canadian Steve Nash, former Toronto Raptors’ player, Charles Oakley, Toronto native and current Cleveland Cavaliers’ player, Tristan Thompson, former NBA commissioner David Stern, among many others.
NBA superstar LeBron James is continuing to make moves off the court. James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, is adding the first scripted drama to its growing slate. The project also boasts Oscar-winning talent: Octavia Spencer. Spencer is attached to star in the limited series about entrepreneur and social activist Madam C.J. Walker’s life, with James exec producing along with his company’s co-founder, Maverick Carter. Sources tell Variety that Netflix is interested in the series and is the likely destination. The steaming service had no comment on their involvement in the project.