I just watched the 2016 film ‘Hidden Figures’ which encaptures the inspirational stories of three African-American women mathematicians and physicists in 1960’s America. (It’s a true story based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly ‘Hidden Figures: The Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race’).
Oh My Gosh.
Of course it was a little romanticised and honey sweet a times but just amazing to watch. I love Taraji P. Henson from ‘Empire’ anyways and also Janelle Monae but this was just so great! There’s even teaching resources for school curriculum! (https://twitter.com/hiddenfigures)
Before watching this (or hearing the hype) I never really knew the history of NASA, especially the involvement of African-American women in the early days, and especially within the STEM fields, so it was a real eye opener for me. I had to google the three ladies:
Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn,
afterwards to find out more about their lives. It also just goes to show how much history is HIS (‘the white man’s’) story – that is, how much history has concealed and lied and twisted the truth for the benefits of ‘the white man’. What I mean by ‘the white man’ is any man who is privileged – mainly bankers, politicians, judges, CEO’s of mass market corporations that do nothing to society really but extract greed.
It is very important to assess and re-asses the role of stories in our lives. The last year or so I’ve been very aware of stories (usually through media), and learning more about how stories are an integral part of the human race. It’s a legacy, a past and a present time. Stories can include facts but we (I) must be careful to not take things at face value so easily. I will definitely be exploring this concept on stories more in my art and personal work.
This film has definitely added the figurative gasoline to my fire and awakened a more spirited side towards feminism and civil rights.
I also caught myself saying ‘I wish I was strong like those ladies’, and ‘I wish I had an insane gift’.
I had to think again. Nope. ‘I am strong’ I say to myself. And I have the potential to be more brave and courageous. I have a strength that is different, more quieter than others. I have the potential to still make a change. I have an INFP personality so I’m the rare type of personality in the world you will discover and I am quiet and introverted. But I am also strong in my own way.
I’m showing this to my future children (biological or not)!
P.s. I’m happy (pun intended) to see Pharrell Williams co-produced and was in charge of the music for this film.