While protests broke out at many of the busiest airports in the country over the weekend following President Donald Trump’s executive order barring refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries, Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards were filled with acceptance speeches that addressed the tumultuous time we're in.
But the evening ended on an uplifting note when “Hidden Figures” won the best cast in a motion picture award. The film’s star, Taraji P. Henson, spoke on behalf of the cast and didn’t just address the importance of the true story the movie is based on, but what we as a nation can learn from it.
"This film is about unity," Henson said, praising the movie’s real-life heroes: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, three African-American women who played a major part in getting the first man in space, as they calculated the mathematical data needed to get John Glenn in orbit.
“Hidden Figures” is the first movie to recognize the service these women did for their country. Henson plays Johnson, Janelle Monae plays Jackson, and Octavia Spencer plays Vaughan. Spencer has received a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for her work.
"Without them we would not know how to reach the stars,” Henson said about the three real-life women. "These women did not complain about the problems, their circumstances, the issues, we know what was going on in that era, they didn't complain. They focused on solutions. Therefore, these brave women helped put men into space."
But Henson then related the movie to the current social unrest in the country.
"This story is what happens when we put our differences aside and we come together as a human race,” she said. “We win. Love wins. Every time."
Watch the entire speech below:
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