Hidden Figures - A Film About Intersexuality and Male Humility
Math has never been my forté. Even though my father is a math teacher I struggled just to get a B in any math course I've ever sat in.
In 2006, right before High School, my Mom moved her kids from Miami to Orlando. I demanded to be enrolled at Jones High School because it was an historically black educational institution. I was placed in honors geometry with Ms. Booth who favored a mystical creature. She was a short and stout white woman with big hair and glasses. Her classroom was always cold and dark to keep her ancient projector cool and bright enough for her to execute her lesson plans. She was strict and would shout out “demerit!” to any disobedient student.
I did what I felt was my best in the class, but because I continuously earned C's my parent "stayed tripping!" The amount of beatings I received because of my grades is worthy of it's own blog post. I won't even get into the day my dad drove from Miami to Orlando just to have a parent - teacher conference with this woman. *child rolls eyes*
What I did learn in this 9th grade class was that there was a woman of color who assisted with the space mission. I appreciated Ms. Booth geometry honors course because she infused history in her class. We learned about Renee Descartes and the Pythagorean Theorem guy. That was cool and all, but then she decided to teach us about Katherine Johnson, and my mind was blown.
Exactly 10 years later, what I learned as a child is adopted into one of the greatest movie ever (yes I said ever!)
Nothing can compare to a film exposing the intersexuality women of color live in like this one. We saw these three educated mothers and wives straddle the line between being black, being a professional and being a woman in a world where being separate, but equal legally made sense.
The film definitely showed how these female pioneers: Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Mary Jane Jackson (Janelle Monae) and Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) moved mountains and had their own form of protest by being smart and strategic. In fact, the movie displayed that these ladies knew when to speak-out and stand-up for their dignity. Every rant that Taraji, Octivia and Janelle acted out gave me life! It showed that black people will always talk back when injustice is occurring no matter what the situation is or the person's background.
It seemed like after Kathrine Johnson (Taraji) vented about walking almost a mile to go to the restroom, she wasn’t afraid to share her mind. You saw how her voice and stance got stronger after that moment.
Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia) wanted a promotion, but her growth was stomped by the “glass ceiling” and Jim Crow mentality. She ends up stealing a book and becoming the first black programmer on the forefront of computers, which contradicts the belief that women aren’t interested or lack the skills to work in STEM fields. Girls have been coding since 1961, wayy before Google and other organizations started sponsoring ads and female coding camps.
What I loved the most about this film are the roles the men played. Each male role learned a valuable lesson from these women protagonists. From Mary Jane’s (Janelle) husband Levi Jackson, played by Aldis Hodge, first appearance on film was him refuting his wife’s dream to become an engineer. Hodge’s character had great lines about the Civil Rights Movement and how change must be fought for. This is exactly what Mary Jane does to convince a judge that allowing her to take night courses at a white school will be a win-win situation. Her husband congrats her at the end for fighting to make her dream come true.
When Taraji’s character is introduced to her soon to become husband Jim Johnson played by Mahershala Ali, he questions her about “pretty girls” being able to work at NASA. Taraji politely told him about himself, and at the end he finds humility and even asks her family and children about marriage before he proposes to her.
Most important male role that truly accepted these women’s rights and needs is Al Harrison, played by Kevin Costner. From the moment he broke that “colored-only” sign off the bathroom, his outlook on society truly changed. He now saw the duality people live in, and how society doesn’t make it any easier.
Although the movie ended with America successfully orbiting the earth 3 times, these women continue working at NASA. They were on the grounds when Apollo 13 landed on the moon and many other space travels that the United States decided to embark on. I believe there should be a Hidden Figures part 2 or a spin off series. There story deserve to continue living long via all platforms of media to continue influencing positivity and hope to the next generation.
Until then, I’ve been inspired to solve any mathematically equation, or at least do some Algebra lol