After more than 50 years, Hollywood is finally telling the inspiring true story of three Black female mathematicians who contributed their intellect to NASA during the Space Race. The film, titled Hidden Figures, is based on a book of the same name that will be released this September.
Taraji P. Henson stars as Katherine Johnson, a "human computer" who performed mathematical calculations for NACA, which would eventually become NASA. Johnson calculated the flight trajectories for Alan Shepard, the first American in space, as well as the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. In 2015, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Octavia Spencer co-stars as Dorothy Vaughan, the head of the West Area Computers, a group of Black female mathematicians at NASA. Mary Jackson, their fellow mathematician and colleague, is played by singer Janelle Monáe. Together, these women were instrumental in sending astronaut John Glenn on his 1962 mission to orbit Earth.
Watch the film's first trailer:
I know this story is going to inspire thousands and thousands of young African-American girls to get involved in science and technology and engineering, and math. I'm excited to promote it, but I'm excited to see it, because I know it's gonna touch thousands.
Based on the trailer, it's clear that the film will highlight how these amazing women fought against discrimination both inside and outside the space program. It's a message that is unfortunately still relevant in far too many industries today.
At the close of the trailer, a man asks Jackson (Monáe), "If you were a White male, would you wish to be an engineer?"
"I wouldn't have to," she replies. "I'd already be one."
Hidden Figures co-stars Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons. It hits theaters January 13, 2017.
(H/T: The Guardian)