*In a recent face to face interview, via Zoom, I spoke with actress Karen Glave about the series “Self Made” that is currently airing on Netflix.
Lebron James and Mav Carter are behind the meaningful four-part series which is based on the story of Madam C. J. Walker who is one of the first, self-made, American millionaires. The decision to tell this inspirational story is a credit to both James and Carter, whose company Uninterrupted is currently producing several media projects.
Asked why she chose to work on the “Self Made” project, Glave said she got the call to audition and that “…finding out it was about Madame C. J. Walker, finding out the heavy hitters that were involved like Octavia [Spencer] and Blair Underwood, and you know…Garrett Morris playing our daddy…and the story…I know I heard of Madame C. J. Walker growing up…I think the newer, younger generation, maybe there’s some who haven’t; but, I know for me growing up I knew…but I didn’t know the extent of her story.”
Glave said she knew that Madame C. J. Walker “had the products for black women” but “had no idea that she was actually the first, American, female, self-made millionaire.” Glave talked about the significance of Madame C. J. Walker’s success during that time and says she “definitely wanted to be a part of that. And, the idea of…telling a story, a black story that hasn’t been told and that some of us know of her, but didn’t really know…that much about her, that was really important.”
Glave estimates that “Self Made” covers Walker’s life from 1908-1918. She says that “Self Made” was able to cover “just a little portion” but a “very important” part of the story being told about “this amazing woman.” Glave says they gave “what [they] could to…introduce a younger generation to [Walker] and who she was as an entrepreneur.”
Glave expands on how relevant Walker’s experience is to women in today’s society, saying:
“It goes to show that yeah, we’ve come a long way, but we still got a lot of ways to go, that the struggle, the fight is still on…We can feel sort of limited or, or sometimes held back as, as black women to this day as far as opportunity, pay, etcetera, but to understand that was a fight that was being fought…you know, we’re standing on the shoulders of certain women who came before us…and if they can do it in spite of what was inflicted upon them and the struggles, and the knocking down and getting back up and then, then what excuse do we have?”
Glave contemplates “What young girl may be watching this series and saying like you know, ‘Yeah, I can do that.’”
Glave notes the most memorable and fun experience on the set “will always go back to Garrett [Morris].” She speaks highly and fondly of his attributes of being a trained actor who worked for a time on Saturday Night Live. She praised his storytelling, background as an actor, his “beautiful” singing, his practice of meditation. She recounted that when the set was at the peak of activity, Morris would sit on the couch and meditate, even if for just five minutes. She defines Morris as “Zen.”
Her role as Peggie Prosser in “Self Made” is significant because as Glave said of Prosser, she had “Madame C. J. Sarah’s back…not to give away the storyline…she’s still with her in the end and yeah, you got family, but also there’s women having another’s back. That is so important.”
Glave has an upcoming role on the streaming show “American Gods.” Glave was tight-lipped about the details. Giving only the name of her character, and that in this, the show’s third season there will be some African Goddesses. Glave said “That’s as much as I can tell you. I can’t give you any storylines or plot.”
Throughout her career, Glave has had a steady climb. She has continually broadened through a variety of roles that include theatre as well as film.
RELATED: DeMane Davis: Meet the Director of Netflix’s Inspirational Madam C.J. Walker Story ‘Self Made’/EUR Exclusive!
Asked what her dream project is, Glave said: “First of all, the energy has to be good…all around from…the top to the bottom like good vibes from the actors to crew in it. We’re doing it to make a great story but also to have fun…Good energy around the set is so important.”
“On my wish list is…something like Alfrey Woodard. I would love to work with her. I admire her. Regina King, absolutely. That would be a good vibed set.” Glave also mentions the beach as a dream location and a little bit of action and stunts as exciting.
“I’m just open,” Glave said. More than anything, she is looking forward to the vast opportunities that the career has to offer.
In closing, Glave shared advice about how everyone can help each other cope and get through the current, worldwide pandemic, Corona Virus.
“We all understand that it’s very challenging…and that we’re getting more information day by day, sometimes hour by hour. And, I know it can be kind of frustrating, scary, and alarming, and you feel like you have no control over any of it. But the fact of the matter is that us choosing to stay inside, doing that social, physical distancing…not getting into crowds, that’s the one place we know we have control over. That we’re not gonna go out, potentially contract it and then bring it back and then maybe give it to your grandparents, your parents, another loved one…We have control over what we can do to help just sort of flatten that curve.”
Glave offers options for being responsible like using FaceTime and Skype in an effort to “get to the other side faster” for what will be a new normal. Glave also asks that people look within at the dreams they’ve always had. Perhaps like Madame C. J. Walker, people may have entrepreneurial aspirations. Glave says now they have time to explore them.
She inspirationally says: “You have control over that, what you can create inside.”
Glave concluded our interview by expressing that being kind and patient is a power that everyone has. She says that gratitude toward all essential workers is so important and that being kind, patient, and gracious empowers everyone who is going through the current crisis.
Below is my Zoom interview with Karen Glave. Enjoy. 🙂
J. Jermayne (@JJermayne Writes) is the author of 6 published books; 3 are sports themed. Jermayne freelance writes and travels to cover sports, entertainment and cultural events.