Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Hidden Figures’ Author/Exec Prod. Margot Shetterly on Her Work’s Impact

Margot Lee Shetterley and Stephanie Wilson (NASA Astronaut and Engineer) at Mandarin Orietal Hotel In NYC. (MMoore Photo)
(L-R) Margot Lee Shetterly and Stephanie Wilson (NASA Astronaut and Engineer) at Mandarin Orietal Hotel In NYC. (MMoore Photo)

*Margot Lee Shetterly (Author, Executive Producer/”Hidden Figures“) is an important part of history having had a hand in bringing one of the country’s most hidden—a calculated subterfuge—black stories to be unveiled.

Shetterly is the author of “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” (Fall 2016, Harper Collins).   [She is also the founder of The Human Computer Project.

Asked how she felt seeing “Hidden Figures” on the big screen Shetterly said:

“Seeing the movie and having written the book, I was like ‘Oh, my God. What happened?’ I cannot even tell you what an honor it is and thank [all involved] for bringing these women to life on the screen. One of the things in the film and certainly something in the book, is just how banal, boring, trite and ridiculous racism and the discrimination was.


“Also that it wasn’t just the fire hoses and the dogs. Having had the privilege of spending time with Katherine Johnson and the families of the other women, it was evident that they really saw this as an everyday fight as well. They knew that every single time they put their pencil to paper they expanded the imagination of the people around them of what these women were capable of, while opening the door for more people.”

The impact of “Hidden Figures” has been felt on many levels.

“The reception has been really good,” Shetterly said. “A lot of colleges have gotten in touch. The movie screened at MIT and Harvard. There was a meeting of 6,000 mathematicians in Atlanta, Georgia from around the world. They are honoring the women of ‘Hidden Figures.’”

Continuing in the tradition of Katherine Johnson is Black Girls CODE, which has partnered with 20th Century Fox:

Black Girls Code at 'Hidden Figures' screening.
Black Girls Code at ‘Hidden Figures’ screening.

“Hidden Figures” tells the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson-brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, and Glen Powell. It opens wide today, Jan 6.

Also check out “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty. This picture book for children is a tale of a budding scientist. For more “Hidden Figures” stories, click HERE at EURweb.

Syndicated Entertainment journalist Marie Moore reports on film and TV from her New York City base. Contact her at [email protected]       Twitter: @thefilmstrip


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