When it comes to the strides of African-Americans in space, history books have always told the tales of select pioneers. Icons like Guion Bluford and Mae C. Jemison, the first African-American men and women to fly into space, respectively, have been etched into history textbooks for decades. 20th Century Fox’s upcoming feature film “Hidden Figures” tells the story of three African-American women that changed astronomy forever.
(Left to right) Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in the upcoming ‘Hidden Figures,’ about three women who were instrumental in the early flights to outer space. (Courtesy photo)
Golden Globe Award winner Taraji P. Henson stars as Katherine Johnson, a scientist and mathematician responsible for calculating the trajectory of several of the earliest trips into outer space for NASA. But Johnson is most famous for her work in helping Astronaut John Glenn become the first man to completely orbit planet Earth.
Along with her team of fellow Black female math whizzes Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), the trio paved the way for not only women in a male-dominated field, but broke down color barriers that paved the way for men and women of today.
Spencer is an Academy Award winner for her supporting role in the pivotal 2011 drama “The Help”. Monáe is an award-winning singer and musician, who added acting to her repertoire after several roles on the big and small screen like 2014’s “Rio 2.” Kevin Costner portrays Al Harrison, the leader of the group responsible for Glenn’s orbit.
In an trailer released by 20th Century Fox, a brief background of Johnson’s childhood and road to NASA is depicted. Although the story of Johnson and her counterparts is documented online, “Hidden Figures” is based on the upcoming book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. The novel is set to release September 6, while the movie will debut in theatres on January 13, 2017.