Michelle Obama rolled out the proverbial red carpet for the cast of Hidden Figures Thursday night. The First Lady opened the White House for a star-studded private screening of the forthcoming biopic about three black female NASA engineers and mathematicians who helped launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
Cast members Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe and Kevin Costner were all in attendance for the showing in the White House's South Court Auditorium, and spoke on a panel about the film that documents the untold stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson. Afterwards, FLOTUS addressed the crowd, calling the movie both "remarkable" and "important."
"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. "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.
Obama drove home the importance of their story, and encouraged attendees not to listen to the haters. "They didn't listen to those doubters. They did not listen to the haters—because they're always out there," she said. "They're out there even today."
"They listened to their families and their friends who said, 'you are worthy,' and they told them, 'don't ever let anyone tell you that you are less-than.' ... And each of these women decided to believe in herself and step up when her country needed her. And more than anything else, that is the great American story that is told in this film. That's why this film is so important."
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The cast took full advantage of their access to 1600 Pennsylvanis Avenue, and shared a number of amazing photos from their visit, including this amazing shot of Spencer fangirling over meeting President Obama.
Monáe also did her best presidential impression in the Briefing Room.
Pharrell even made an appearance!
Hidden Figures rockets into theaters on Dec. 25.