What’s Hiding Behind the Feel-Good Curtain of Hidden Figures: One Black Feminist’s Take

In a scene in Hidden Figures that is all too familiar for Black women viewers, or really anyone from a historically marginalized group, Taraji P. Henson’s character Katherine Johnson rushes to enter the NASA control room where she has just handed off crucial calculations for astronaut John Glenn’s safe return from orbit, and has the door summarily slammed in her face. The camera lingers on Henson’s profile, as she grapples yet again with the devastating knowledge that although she may be a useful “computer” for spitting out numbers that may make missions successful and even save lives, she is still not seen as fully human in the eyes of her peers and superiors. Indeed, in Henson’s capable hands, viewers ourselves experience the physical and emotional pain of being barred from entering the halls of power for absurd reasons beyond one’s control — in this case, race and gender.

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Sweet 16: Top Films of 2016

For the better part of a decade, this has become an annual tradition for yours truly.

From January to December I compile a list of the best, artistic and most progressive films, television shows, and music albums. One of the reasons I do this is to provide resources to readers who are looking for cerebral, fun, and progressive media. It does exist as my lists have continued to prove. Don’t say I never gave you anything. You’re welcome.

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