We finally have a chance to see Janelle Monae help the U.S. win the first major battle in the race to leave Earth’s orbit. In the new trailer for the Ted Melfi-directed movie Hidden Figures — based on Margo Lee Shetterly’s upcoming book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race — Monae stars alongside Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer.
In the film, the trio of women help the space agency with the mathematical computations needed for NASA’s Friendship 7 mission, which resulted in astronaut John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth in February 1962. Monae plays Mary Jackson, and in the trailer she is seen dealing with the not-so-subtle racism (not to mention sexism) that the women faced in their pioneering roles, including dealing with police officers who are surprised by their gigs working on the space program and fellow engineers who doubt Katherine Johnson’s (Henson) skills.
“Every time we have a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line… every time,” she says at one point in frustration.
In one scene astronaut Glenn meets the women and asks them what they do and Monae confidently explains, “Engineering and I’m proud as the devil to be working with you,” letting her friends know that her “equal rights” allow her to ogle fine white men as well.
Hidden Figures, which also stars Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons, features original music by Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer.