Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Michelle Obama on ‘Hidden Figures’: America Suffers ‘If Everyone at the Table Looks the Same’ (See Pics from White House Screening)

Michelle Obama speaks at a White House screening of "Hidden Figures"
Michelle Obama speaks at a White House screening of “Hidden Figures”

*While hosting a private White House screening of “Hidden Figures” on Thursday, Michelle Obama spoke about the film’s “remarkable” and “important” account of three black female engineers and mathematicians who enabled astronaut John Glenn to orbit the earth.

“We sought out the very best minds in math and engineering at the time, people with diverse perspectives who could think in ways that no one had ever thought before — people like many of you in this room, the people like Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan,” she said, naming the NASA employees “Hidden Figures” was based on.

Cast members Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner attended the event along with director Theodore Melfi, music supervisor Pharrell Williams and the film’s producers. Henson played Johnson, Spencer portrayed Vaughan and Monae portrayed Jackson in the film.

“These women couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain or use the same bathroom as many of their colleagues … and folks didn’t always take these women seriously because they were black, and also because they were women,” said Mrs. Obama.

There’s an important life lesson to be learned from these women, FLOTUS continued: “They didn’t listen to those doubters. They did not listen to the haters — because they’re always out there. They’re out there even today.

“They listened to their families and their friends who said, ‘you are worthy,’ and they told them, ‘don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are less-than.’ … And each of these women decided to believe in herself and step up when her country needed her. And more than anything else, that is the great American story that is told in this film. That’s why this film is so important.”

Obama said their example shows that “you don’t come up with the right answer if everyone at the table looks the same and thinks the same and has the same experience.”

The First Lady also praised the film’s stars, including “our girl Janelle Monáe,” whom she referred to as “my little child here, my other one,” and Costner, who she said “is still as handsome as ever.”

“I said that after my husband left,” she added to laughs. “He’s not watching.”

View pics from the White House screening below:

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