Why I’m Going to See ‘Hidden Figures’


2016 has been the year of black girls winning. The Knowles sisters both have #1 albums (LEMONADE & A Seat At The Table). Queen of Katwe, a Disney biopic about a Ugandan girl (Phiona Mutesi) who turns out to be a chess prodigy, released and captured our hearts, taking $7.75 million at the box office and scoring 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. The girls of Pretoria High School made international headlines for protesting their school’s racist hair policies. A mere extension of what is being called “Black History Year,” this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg that is #BlackGirlMagic.

Hidden Figures is a film slated to release on December 25, 2016 starring Taraji P.
Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe. Playing NASA physicist Katherine Johnson,  and her colleagues, mathematician Dorothy Vaughan, and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson, respectively, these three black women were responsible for putting Apollo 11 into orbit and man on the Moon in 1969. Dope as hell, right? There are plenty of black women engineers and scientists throughout history, but how many of them have actually gotten the shine they deserve?
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is overwhemingly male-dominated and white. A story focusing black women’s contributions to an early NASA (then NACA) in a time where not getting the credit they were due is very important because it isn’t just the past. Black women, especially in STEM, still deal with rampant sexism and misogynoir. It is undeniable. Just a few weeks ago, on a Delta Airlines flight, a passenger was having a medical emergency. When Dr. Tamika Cross offered assistance, a flight attendant brushed her aside in search of an “actual physician” as if she weren’t qualified. And this isn’t the first time.
I am not a black woman. I don’t experience misogynoir. But, I’ve seen it enough to know
that it’s real, it’s happening, and that pretending it doesn’t exist does not make that any less true. Simply listening to black women gives you a look into what a dehumanizing, painful effect it has. With representation for people of color having already been near piss-poor, it’s refreshing to see begin to see a change.
We have so much amazing black film and black television on right now (Queen Sugar, How to Get Away With Murder, Insecure, PITCH, Luke Cage, etc.) and part of creating better representation is supporting representation I want to see. I want to see more stories about black women winning. I want to see black women getting the shine they deserve. I’m going to be buying a ticket to see Hidden Figures. Will  you join me?

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