We’re in a new year, filled with new dreams, goals, plans, and wishes. On a micro and macro level though, I’m seeing how important it is that we know where we’ve been so that we can know where we’re going. A perfect example of this is the upcoming official premiere of Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae. Here’s a synopsis of the film:
“Hidden Figures is based on the best-selling non-fiction book written by a Black woman (Margot Lee Shetterly) about three amazing Black women at NASA.
The film recounts the story of the African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson and her two colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who, while working in the segregated West Area Computers division of Langley Research Center, helped NASA catch up in the Space Race. Using their calculations, John Glenn became the first American astronaut to make a complete orbit of the Earth.”
When news of this movie came out, the resounding commentary centered around the fact that this incredible story has gone relatively unknown until now. How much of our history – especially the history created by Black women – has gone uncovered?
In my writing last year, it was of great importance to me to use my platforms to share the oft-hidden stories of Black women, past and present:
With so many people saying “I didn’t know about the women in Hidden Figures!” how do we avoid that same erasure in the future? Hopefully by continuing to uncover our histories and share our stories as they unfold in the present, we’ll be able to combat the disrespect shown to the contributions that marginalized people have made to society. It’s imperative that we not only find ways to learn about the hidden aspects of our relative histories, but to also use whatever platform we have to spread that knowledge to others. When we know better, we can do better.
I’ve questioned some of Hidden Figures’ marketing strategies (I mean, it’s nice to say that strength, courage, and genius have no gender, limit, and race, but those are very real obstacles these women had to overcome – let’s own that and not sanitize it), but I’m ultimately extremely excited to see the film when it opens this weekend. Little Magician is too young to sit through the flick, but I feel it’ll be one of those oldies but goodies that I’ll bring out for her to watch when she’s older, so that she can be inspired by the accomplishments these women made in the past and – hopefully – how far we’ve come since then, and now.
Are you excited to see Hidden Figures? Comment below and let me know why – you could win a pair of tickets to see it during the crucial opening weekend when it officially opens on January 6th*
*contest open to Canadian residents only