In just about every game, especially every “big” game, and every game of consequence, there is a player that turns into a hero in an instant. This player turned hero does not plan on it, but he or she ends up doing the unthinkable: they make the play of the game. The coach may not even know their full name; the other players don’t associate with them that much if at all; and most fans don’t even know they’re on the team. But this hero in hiding is about to go public. This hero may not be a starter or a star, but this average Joe will make a play, a game saving tackle, a field goal in overtime, a pick-six interception for a touchdown, a three pointer at the buzzer, or a walk-off home run, that wins the game and seals the victory.
The Film “Hidden Figures” is a must see. If you have not seen this film, stop reading – stop reading right now — and go and see this inspiring, stirring and stimulating historical narrative. There are outstanding, Oscar worthy performances in this Oscar worthy film that should be seen and appreciated by all. “Hidden Figures” is up for three Academy Awards at the Oscars Sunday night.
HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
The movie, based on the book by Hampton native Margot Lee Shetterly, details the lives of three black women working at Hampton’s NASA Langley during the space race — in the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s. All three women have been hidden to many of us who did not know that African American women played a vital role in the space race. They did complex math calculations for NASA, and were called “computers” long before the term was applied to machines.
Shetterly’s book proposal was sent to 16 publishers. There were enough “nos,” that she submitted her research to a Ph. D program at the University of Virginia. She was accepted into the program about the same time she received an offer from publishing group William Morrow and Company.
In 2014, the same year her book received an offer, Shetterly’s proposal for the story was auctioned off to Levantine Films. Before Shetterly even had finished writing the book, she got a call from Donna Gigliotti, an Academy Award-winning producer. Gigliotti has producing credits for films including “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Shakespeare in Love.” She was hooked by Shetterly’s 55-page proposal.
“I was attracted to ‘Hidden Figures’ because it is an untold story; it’s authentic,” Gigliotti wrote to the Daily Press in September via email. “Also it has strong women characters at its center — all my movies share that quality.”
It soon had a screenwriter, Allison Schroder, who received an Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay along with the film’s director, Theodore Melfi. The script was delivered in May 2015 and casting began a month later. Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan) and Janelle Monae (Mary Jackson) were brought on as leads.” Jonathan Black, Contact Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org
The three women portrayed in “Hidden Figures” are what we call in in sports “unsung heroines.”
David was a “sung” hero. He defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone. In so doing he defeated giant Goliath and the archrival Philistine army and won the victory for Israel. The eighth son of Jesse went on to be the sweet psalmist of Israel and the apple of God’s eye. After David’s unlikely but stirring victory, the women sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, but David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). While there are many others like David, there are many more unsung heroes whose songs have yet to be sung.
Just like the women in “Hidden Figures,” the woman at the well was an unsung hero. The Samaritan woman from the town of Sychar was the first evangelist. But first she was a “only” woman, and a Samaritan woman at that. When the disciples returned from buying food in town, they were surprised to find Jesus talking with “a woman”.
Jesus came so that we would all be one big happy family. But before He came the status of women was, at best, the least of all. And it was a common fact that the Jews had no dealings with Samaritans. Worst still, this woman had a checkered past. She had been married five times, she was living with a man that was not her husband, and she went to the well alone in the heat of the day. No friends, no lasting companionship, no true loving relationships. Yet she is the first one to whom Christ revealed himself to outside of his inner circle. Heaven arranged for her to meet the True Prophet, the prophesied One, and the Savior of the World.
God has a way of choosing and using unlikely, unassuming underdogs to achieve his purposes. This teaches us that God is not looking for superstars, standouts, “phenoms”, or number one draft picks who are full of themselves. God is looking for those like this woman who met Jesus at the well, an unlikely, unsung heroine whose name we don’t even know. God is looking for those who like the woman of Samaria are thirsty for living water. God is looking for those who don’t mind leaving their water pots, for those who will run and tell the very people who may despise and disdain them that they have found the Christ.
She was the lone witness and a “hidden figure” that caused many of the Samaritans to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. And God is still looking for heroes and heroines whose songs have yet to be sung.