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‘Hidden Figures’ shines at box office

Hidden Figures is the story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who are African-American women working at NASA. It was nominated for Best Picture. (20th Century Fox/TNS)

Caleb Britt
Guest Writer

“Hidden Figures” officially hit the big screen on Jan. 6 and has been ruling the box office ever since. The movie was NO. 1 at the box office during its first two weeks and made $22.8 million during its first weekend wide release in the U.S. and Canada.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, let me give you a quick synopsis without spilling all the beans even though I’ve seen it twice.

This movie recounts the true story of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three African-American women who made extraordinary strides in NASA in the 60’s at a time where Jim Crow laws were in effect.

These women were a part of the mathematics backbone that helped get Astronaut John Glenn into orbit during the Space Race. During that time, African-American women with college degrees were hired to solve mathematical equations and calculations. They were called “colored computers.”

Did I mention the phenomenal women who portrayed the main characters? Golden Globe winning actress and author Taraji P. Henson played Katherine Johnson, Golden Globe and Oscar winning actress Octavia Spencer played Dorothy Vaughan and award-winning singer, actress and model Janelle Monáe played Mary Jackson.

These women did an incredible job displaying the essence, example, Black Girl Magic and Black Excellence that Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson displayed years ago.

As an African-American man, I found it refreshing to see African-American women break barriers and do the impossible. These women were treated unfairly and were regarded as less than, but they continued to move forward. Movies and stories like this make me appreciate the African-American men and women who paved the way for me and many others.

This movie showed me why movies like this are important. They break barriers and show boys and girls what doing the impossible looks like no matter what color you are or what background you come from.

These women had all the odds stacked against them, even though they were highly qualified. They got up every morning knowing that the day would present challenges, but they worked hard and persevered in spite of.

This movie also taught valuable life lessons. First, you have to truly support those around you. When Johnson and Jackson got promotions, Vaughan was happy to see her girls succeed even though she too wanted a promotion. They had a genuine sisterhood apart from being members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Secondly, hard work and perseverance are the keys to anything. These women did not let anything stand in their way. Even in their moments of doubts and insecurities, they kept moving forward knowing that their hard work would pay off.

Lastly, we are greater when we come together. Vaughan could have easily read about the IBM, got a promotion and left the other women to fight for themselves. Instead, she equipped herself and the other women to succeed.

Overall, this movie will tug at all of your emotions. This is a movie for people of all ages and backgrounds. You will walk away feeling enlightened and inspired to work harder and dream bigger. Hopefully, this movie will also make you think of the other untold stories that the world needs to see.