Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae Celebrate NASA’s Hidden Figures
They helped win America’s space race, only to be forgotten by history — until now.
In “Hidden Figures,” Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson play three African-American women who provided NASA with important mathematical data to launch the first successful space missions.
“You have three unsung heroes, and if you look at all of the archival footage from NASA you never would have known that women were directly involved,” Spencer tells Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar. “For me, I don’t want another day to go by when people don’t utter the names Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson.”
Adds Henson: “It’s a very important piece of history that’s missing that urgently needs to be reinstated in our veins to change the course of where we’re headed. If not, we’re going to have dig ourselves out of a hole again.”
Although a story from history, this is no musty tale from the books, but a tale full of emotion and humanity, the actresses say.
“These women just prove that you’re dream is valid, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter if someone else tries to use race or gender to stop you,” says Monae. “You can beat those odds. You can persevere. That’s the great thing about ‘Hidden Figures.’ It’s hopeful. Of course, yes, they went through many obstacles. Because of the historical circumstances we’re just hearing about them. It just proves that no matter where you are in your life, you have a fair shot and an opportunity, if you fight it, you can come out on top, just like these women did.”
And do it with dignity and grace. “The greatest example that they set is: Don’t harp on how bad it is,” says Henson. “That’s life. How can you change it? How do you make it better? When I met with the beautiful Miss Katherine Johnson, she’s like I just went to work. I was just doing my job. Her humility blew me away. She’s a living hero. She’s a superhero.”