Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer, one of the stars of the historical hit “Hidden Figures,” has treated low-income families to a showing of the movie.
A day ahead of the 8 p.m. Friday screening at Rave Cinemas in Los Angeles’ upscale Baldwin Hills neighborhood, Spencer, 44, posted on Instagram that, “If you know a family in need that would like to see our movie but can’t afford it have them come. It’s first come first served. My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings. So, I’m honoring her and all single parents this #mlkweekend Pass the word.”
Accompanying the invitation was a stylized drawing of herself surrounded by close-ups of some of the real-life black women who were NASA computing pioneers during the early days of the American space program. Spencer played Dorothy Vaughan, a mathematician at NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe also starred as Vaughan’s real-life colleagues, Katherine G. Johnson and Mary Jackson, respectively.
Spencer’s gesture motivated similar generosity on the part of African-American Greek fraternal organizations. “On this #mlkday,” Spencer posted Monday, “I’d like to say a special thank you to all of the black Greeks who have bought out theaters supporting us and the women we portray. We feel and appreciate the love!!! Feel free to give shout outs to your sorors and frat bros below!!! I see you Deltas. I see you AKAs.”
She added, “If your fraternity or sorority has bought theaters let us know. We want to show you love. Thanks to all of you who are showing up in record numbers. We see you.”
That post accompanied a well-drawn cartoon fan art depicting a black female NASA mathematician. Spencer reposted the young artist’s message, which said the film “has a really good message for young women who are African American that you can be anything you want to be! And me being young and African American, I want to be a professional artist and work for Disney/Pixar someday!”