On Thursday, the first lady hosted a private White House screening of the biopic about three black female engineers and mathematicians who worked at NASA in the early days of the space race.
Cast members Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner attended the event, where Obama delivered remarks and praised the “remarkable” and “important” film for celebrating not only what America achieved by becoming the first country to put a man on the moon, “but, more importantly, how we achieved it.”
“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.
“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,” she said.There’s an important life lesson to be learned from these women, Obama said: “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.”
According to Melfi’s tweet after the screening, the First Lady gave the film a “5-star review!” Mrs. Obama also delivered a speech on behalf of young girls in the education system, citing the real-life women portrayed in the film as inspiration for education.