BLACK VOICES

Taraji P. Henson On One Thing She Hopes Young Girls Learn From 'Hidden Figures'

It's something we should all keep in mind.

Taraji P. Henson has received much acclaim for her stunning role in the upcoming film “Hidden Figures.” 

Henson portrays Katherine Johnson, a remarkable black woman who played a pivotal role in NASA’s successful attempt to put astronaut John Glenn into orbit. The film, which also tells the stories of fellow NASA workers including Dorothy Vaughn, played by Octavia Spencer, and Mary Jackson, played by Janelle Monae, helps to bring recognition to the important role these black women have played in history. 

The “poignant” film, as Henson described it in a recent interview with Yahoo’s Katie Couric, also shows the strength of the women who persevered through adversity at a time when their gender and race were uncommon and even unwelcome in some spaces. It also highlights the growing need for more representation in STEM education and gives inspiration to young girls, especially those of color, who aspire to enter the field. 

“Growing up I was always told science and math are for boys, I was told that I believed it,” Henson told Couric. 

But Henson said there’s one big takeaway she learned in the making of this film ― and it’s one she wants to share with young women everywhere. 

“What I want girls to take away from this is a dream,” Henson said. “Hold it, keep it, dream it, and fight for it because it’s a dream I never knew belonged to me.” 

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