June 9, 2017 / Kaveonna Gamble and Bethany Lemmon
“Genius has no race. Strength has no gender. Courage has no limit”
Hidden Figures: a recently released book and film celebrating the true story of three brilliant African-American women at NASA during the 1950s Space Race. Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race and galvanized the world.
It’s no secret that these ladies genuinely deserve a top spot on our list of space queens, and here a few reasons why:
1. The obvious feminism aspect
In this movie, we see the power and intellect of three genius female minds — so powerful in fact that it took us to the stars! These women held their own in the face of discrimination for being a woman and being black during a time when America had deep segregational scars. Those three women, through this movie and book, showed girls that the impossible really is possible through grit, determination, and skill.
2. It’s a True Story
I feel like if this story wasn’t true then it would have less of an impact. But knowing that African-American women really did put an incredible amount of effort into the things they wanted despite hurdles to clear is amazing. I felt a bit ashamed that I didn’t know about these women until this movie came out. We never hear anything about them in school or in textbooks. In my humble opinion, I think that they should tell us about the women of our history and the incredible things that their kids thought about that changed the world.
3. The acting is top-flight
I loved all the actors and actresses in this movie. Especially Taraji P. Henson. You may have seen her on the hit show Empire, as she plays Cookie Lyon, the queen diva who isn’t scared of anyone and is a ride or die chick. When I saw her acting as Katherine Goble, I was shocked — I couldn’t see an ounce of Cookie in her. There was one scene that was particularly emotional: the moment when the colored bathroom dilemma was brought up in front of all of Katherine’s co-workers. It was moving ( but I didn’t cry. Nope. Not at all. Just something in my eye. ) The professionalism in this movie is amazing. It felt like each person played their characters perfectly.
4. The Racial Hurdles
In the movie, we can see how these three ladies were treated — how they were constantly put down every time they tried to do something. Katherine Goble was forced to run to the colored bathrooms all the way in another wing and still do work! Dorothy couldn’t be a supervisor even though she was doing the work of a supervisor. Mary had to take night classes at an all white school to become an engineer at NASA. These women and every other colored person were constantly reminded that they were black and therefore inferior to white people. But they had their strength and did everything they could to get themselves the positions they wanted. These women didn’t let the color of their skin stop them from achieving their dreams.
5. The film is a warm but powerful reminder that intelligence can never be defined by race or gender
In the end, due to a surge of intelligent upbringing via Katherine, Mary, and Dorothy, John Glenn was successfully launched into orbit and safely brought back to Earth. An achievement that we will credit to three extraordinary women who stood against judgment, sexism, racism, and the calamities of everyday life in order to get men in space.