‘Hidden Figures’ Matters, Black Women’s Labor Matters
A new film is drawing a lot of attention because it depicts the Black women who were behind the Project Mercury and Apollo 11 missions. The film, called Hidden Figures, is important for many reasons. But, mainly, because it adds complexity to the ways that we envision Black womanhood and the histories that brought us to where we are today.
Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae lead the all-star cast in what looks to be a playful story about the three Black women’s efforts to not only survive the White, male dominated landscape of NASA in the 1960s and 70s but thrive. Their story – which is based on the true experiences of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, respectively – shines a light on the ways that Black women’s labor is often taken for granted.
A particularly salient feature of the film is the challenging of the ideas that mathematics, engineering, and other scientific contributions are the domain of men, specifically White men. The film’s emphasis on these women’s natural abilities and affinities toward complicated scientific methods shows that Black folx are capable of (better yet, created for) amazing things, even when those things require the breaking down of physical, mental, and emotional barriers.
The film will be released on January 13th, 2017.
Watch the trailer below:
Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Promo Poster