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A’Lelia Bundles Continues Her Great-Great-Grandmother Madam C.J. Walker’s Legacy

A’Lelia Bundles Continues Her Great-Great-Grandmother Madam C.J. Walker’s Legacy

Written By: Sierra Lyons

Madam C.J. Walker was the first woman to earn a personal fortune of $1 million in the United States. The hair mogul revolutionized hair care products for African Americans when access to a variety of products for textured hair was minimal. Over 100 years since Walker launched her brand, MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker is hitting shelves nationwide with over 11 new products. A’lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-grandaughter, and Cara Sabin, CEO of Sundial Brands, are passionate about continuing Walker’s legacy of accessibility and care with modernized hair care solutions. They chatted with BGN over email on February 8, 2022, about the line’s new products.

A’Lelia, how does it feel to carry on your great-great-grandmother’s legacy of hair care?

A’Lelia Bundles: I am thrilled to continue my great-great-grandmother’s legacy with the launch of MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker in partnership with the stellar Black women leaders at Sundial Brands and Walmart. We worked together to merge 100 years of research, development, science, and technology to ensure that the products are as innovative and effective as the original MADAM C.J. Walker line. This collection embodies Madam Walker’s spirit of empowerment and pays homage to modern women of color.

Cara Sabin

The expression goes that hair is a woman’s crown and glory. How important is it to you for Black women to have hair products that are affordable and accessible?

Cara Sabin: With the launch of MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker, it was important to us that all of the products in the line were accessible and affordable for everyone. By partnering with Walmart, we can bring our customers a quality and coveted line of products at an affordable price point.

What are some of your favorite products from the line, and why?

Bundles: The damage-defying Scalp to Strand System gives consumers the freedom and confidence to style their hair the way they want when they want. The line features 11 products. This haircare regimen takes cues from Madam C.J. Walker’s original philosophy: healthy, strong hair first starts with a healthy scalp. My favorite products are Split End Smoothing Serum and Healthy Scalp Serum. But I also love our Revive and Reset Shampoo.

Sabin: From heated and relaxed styles to natural and protective looks, the Scalp to Strand System’s proprietary technology helps repair and strengthen textured hair at the roots. The Wonderful Balm to Oil is probably my favorite since that’s a nod to Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower product.

Photo by: “The Kitchen Table” 

Black hair has been politicized and criminalized for centuries. How do you feel about the social progress to more inclusive attitudes towards Black hair?

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Sabin: I’m excited about the progress made so far, thanks in large part to the CROWN Act initiated by Dove, our sister brand. Everyone should have the freedom to wear and style their hair as they choose without fear of judgment or discrimination. MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker celebrates the multi-dimensionality of women with textured hair. We designed these 11 new products to respect, protect, and perfect the wide range of styles worn by women of color. This collection is another positive step towards a more inclusive society.

What do you hope the future of hair care looks like for Black women?

Bundles: MADAM embodies Madam C.J. Walker’s original spirit of empowerment and self-care. We created the line to herald this trailblazing legacy for the next generation. To every woman of color charting your path, with strands that tell expressive stories — this line is for you. Our goal is to inspire Black girls and women everywhere and be one of the elements in the toolkit that helps them live their lives with confidence.

Sabin: I hope the future of hair care is inspired by the next generation of trailblazers, formulators, and innovators. MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker strives to inspire boldness and a sense of freedom through a forward-thinking hair care system. And we hope to encourage polycultural women to proudly lead their lives, unbothered by society’s ideals of how they should look, feel, and present themselves.

Photo by: Josh Dickinson

As your great-great-grandmother is highlighted this month in celebration of Black History Month, what do you hope people know/remember about her work and empire?

Bundles: As people think about Madam C.J. Walker, I hope they remember her role as a pioneer of the modern hair-care industry as well as her interest in encouraging Black women to develop their leadership skills, to become financially successful entrepreneurs, and to share some of that good fortune with their communities. She understood that her customers deserved products that addressed their specific hair care needs and that the beauty market of her day overlooked them. I love knowing that she became a millionaire, but what’s even more important to me is that she used her wealth and influence to empower other women and support educational institutions, cultural initiatives, and social justice causes.

You can find MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker in over 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com and madambymcjw.com

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