If you've been watching the Olympics, you know how much the past 10 days have been an epic display of #BlackGirlMagic. Fittingly, the trailer for Hidden Figures was released last night during Sunday's Olympic coverage. It's the story of three brilliant African American women, played by Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, who made history by serving as the brains behind the NASA launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit in 1962.
Three black women helped launch a dude into space in the 60s. AT NASA. Think about how America treated black women in the 60s. As Katherine Johnson, played by Taraji P Henson, jokes in the trailer, they were still sitting at the back of the bus. In 1962 Malcolm X said, "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman, the most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman." These women had to face that truth every day and they still rose to greatness. I'm obsessed with this story.
Overall, the trailer is good. I like the pace and the performances look strong. Janelle Monae steals every scene she's in. Octavia is being Octavia, slaying as usual. Taraji is showing her range as a meek math nerd, basically the exact opposite of Cookie Lyon. Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons round out the cast and based on the trailer, it doesn't seem like any of their characters are going to swoop in and be a white saviour type.
The trailer jokes through some of the discrimination these women faced and that worries me a bit. When a white man mistakes Katherine Johnson for the help or when a police officer is so offended NASA hired black women, that's not funny to me. It's an uplifting and inspiring story so I'm cool if the movie is a bit lighthearted but I hope it takes the racism of the 60s seriously.
The most powerful part of the clip is this line:
"We go from being our father's daughters to our husband's wives to our babies' mothers."
Now that is something any woman of that era can relate to, regardless of race.
I'm most excited for Hidden Figures (as Lainey pointed out, this title is THE WORST) because black girls are being celebrated for their brains on screen. That is rare. When the trailer aired, my brother Sam texted me, "WHOA, a smart black girl movie!"
He knows how rare a trailer that starts with a black girl rattling off math terms is.
Hidden Figures comes out on January 13th, 5 days before my birthday. I'll be there on opening day. Will you?