Hidden Figures, the film starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae as a trio of Black mathematicians who bolster the U.S. Space program, showcased Black excellence in a fashion rarely seen in Hollywood. The Oscar-nominated movie is now the inspiration for a new U.S. State Department educational initiative aimed at bringing women in the STEM sciences to the forefront.
The State Department’s “#HiddenNoMore” project will pool 50 women from the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines from around the globe. A three-week national tour kicks off in October and convenes in Los Angeles for a two-day event that will feature a screening of Hidden Figures and other related activities such as scholarship contests. 21st Century Fox, the distributor for the film, has donated several thousand dollars to support the effort.
This marks the first time the government branch has been moved to create a program as a result of a hit Hollywood film. The tale of Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson resonated with viewers. Facing both abject racism and sexism, the women and their mathematical wizardry help bolster NASA’s dominance as it took to the stars. State Department officials fielded dozens of requests last year to screen the film in embassies around the world.
Hidden Figures was nominated by the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress for Spencer. It was the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
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