Diversity

Hidden Figures

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has partnered with the nonprofit Journeys in Film to release a free Hidden Figures curriculum guide for the classroom.

Hidden Figures—starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe—tells the 'untold' story of three African American female NASA mathematicians during the Space Race of the 1960's, and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan. The powerful story behind Hidden Figures has made waves around the world and is encouraging young women, especially young women of color, to follow their dreams and pursue studies and careers in STEM.

Inspired by past and present women working in STEM, the classroom curriculum guide highlights the dedication, confidence, and academic excellence that these three women conveyed in the film. The guide is made up of eight comprehensive, standards-aligned lesson plans for middle school-aged students, and is interdisciplinary, offering various lenses through which students can approach the social issues raised by the film.

“The first few lessons in this guide will help students understand the context in which the events of Hidden Figures occur. In the spirit of Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughn’s creative determination, Journeys in Film’s lessons trace the increasing animosity between Communist nations and the West, the pressure-filled context in which the women at Langley were working, the logistics of the U.S. space effort and the vital role served by the “human computers” portrayed in the film. Students will also research the Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education in the timeline of key events during the Civil Rights Movement, which provide a deeper understanding of the actions activists and ordinary citizens undertook to end segregation,” said Journeys in Film.

21st Century Fox recently completed the “The Search for Hidden Figures” contest to uncover the next generation of female leaders in STEM, and distributed over $200,000 in scholarships to two grand prize winners and ten runners-up. In partnership with AMC Theatres, 21CF has also organized free screenings around the U.S. to celebrate February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month, and schools and community groups were invited to apply for free hometown screenings as well. “We at 21CF were inspired by the grassroots movement to bring this film to audiences that wouldn’t otherwise be able to see it—audiences that might include future innovators and barrier-breakers—and we wanted to support and extend that movement,” said Liba Rubenstein, 21CF’s Senior Vice President of Social Impact.

Teachers can download the Hidden Figures curriculum guide for free from Journeys in Film, and beginning in May, high schools can also request free DVDs to screen the movie for students across the U.S.

Hidden Figures is now available on Blu-Ray, DVD, ad Digital HD.


National Geographic, Gender Revolution

National Geographic was named a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist in Explanatory Reporting for its groundbreaking “Gender” magazine issue and the accompanying digital and video work. The Pulitzer Prize Board explained that National Geographic was named a finalist in this category “For a deep and sensitive exploration of gender worldwide, using remarkable photography, moving video and clear writing to illuminate a subject that is at once familiar and misunderstood.”

National Geographic Partners CEO Declan Moore congratulated National Geographic magazine Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg and the editorial staff for the accomplishment in an internal memo yesterday: “The Pulitzer Prizes honor the very best in journalism and the arts, and there is certainly no tougher competition, nor higher achievement, in the industry. To be named a finalist is a tremendous accomplishment and reflects the outstanding work and collaboration of the editorial staff. It is also a testament to Susan’s fearless leadership and her dedication to thoughtful, courageous storytelling that is taking National Geographic from reverence to relevance.”

This marked the first time National Geographic was able to submit for all Pulitzer Prize categories.


John Landgraf, Diversity Awards

FX Networks and FX Productions CEO John Landgraf was honored with the Corporate Leadership Award at the T. Howard Foundation’s 24th Annual Diversity Awards Dinner on Wednesday, March 29, in New York. The fundraising event recognizes and celebrates industry leaders and companies committed to diversifying the media and entertainment industry. John was presented to the evening’s attendees by Emmy Award-winning actor Courteney B. Vance, who played the role of Johnnie Cochran in FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

During his remarks, John recounted how 18 months ago, FX found that 88 percent of its original-series directors were white men, which was incongruous with the fact that white men make up just 36 percent of the U.S. population.

“We decided to take concrete steps to radically and quickly increase the participation of underrepresented groups with the ranks of our directors,” John said. “And our guess was that doing so would improve the overall quality of our work. We were right.”

During the past year-and-a-half, FX has boosted the percentage of non-white-male directors from 12 percent to 57 percent. “After making this change, the overall quality of our episodes has gotten better, resulting in the FX networks breaking nearly every record in the history of basic cable for programming success, awards recognition and critical acclaim.”

John also looked back at his life journey and noted the advantages he received by being born a white, heterosexual male, which presented him with a simple choice: “I can continue to take the path of least resistance, bestowing the benefits of my advantages primarily on others who naturally cross my path, who not-so coincidentally also often share my gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity… Or, I can actually try to live up to the as-yet unfulfilled promise given to all Americans by our founding fathers in our Declaration of Independence: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men (and I will add women) are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among them Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’”

He challenged businesses to look for “merit that lies beneath the surface of a person’s ethnic, sexual or gender identity.”

“I have been proud to work with my FX colleagues and our many producers who have embraced our efforts to open doors for people who have been standing at the back of the line for too long,” John said as he thanked FX Networks head of current programming Jonathan Frank and his team for recruiting and promoting diverse talent.

John also praised 21CF Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch, 21CF CEO James Murdoch and FOX Networks Group Chairman and CEO Peter Rice for their dedication to making sure the organization comprises colleagues from all walks of life.

“Now that we have shown that real, rapid and permanent change is possible, we challenge all of our competitors to catch us if they can.”

The T. Howard Foundation’s mission is to increase the diversity in the media and entertainment industry through a comprehensive recruiting program for diverse college students. Learn more about the nonprofit.


Hidden Figures

In celebration of February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month, 21st Century Fox and AMC Theatres invited schools, community groups, and non-profit organizations to apply for special screenings of Academy Award-nominated Hidden Figures. Over 7,000 groups applied for free screenings, resulting in approximately 3,500 free tickets distributed across the U.S.

The winning groups represent a diverse range of organizations, from Girl Scout clubs to college STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) initiatives to public elementary and middle schools. The powerful story behind Hidden Figures has made waves around the world and is encouraging young women, especially young women of color, to follow their dreams and pursue studies and careers in STEM.

The film—starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe—tells the 'untold' story of three African American female NASA mathematicians during the Space Race of the 1960's. Hidden Figures was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan. Hidden Figures continues to inspire audiences across the country, with over $220 million in box office receipts and a Home Entertainment DVD release on April 11, 2017.

“We at 21CF were inspired by the grassroots movement to bring this film to audiences that wouldn’t otherwise be able to see it—audiences that might include future innovators and barrier-breakers—and we wanted to support and extend that movement,” said Liba Rubenstein, 21CF’s Senior Vice President of Social Impact.

Meet the Hidden Figures free screening winners:

  • 75th Street Elementary School; Marina del Rey, CA
  • CCEO YouthBuild; Torrance, CA
  • Booker T. Washington Senior High, Astronomy Magnet Program; Miami, FL
  • COPE Center North High School; Miami, FL
  • Jack and Jill of America; Orlando, FL
  • John Hopkins Middle School; Tampa, FL
  • Teen Girls in Tech, YWCA; Atlanta, GA
  • Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta; Atlanta, GA
  • Off the Street Club; Chicago IL
  • Chicago Youth Programs; Chicago, IL
  • Thread; Baltimore, MD
  • EMBODI Male Mentoring Program, Delta Sigma Theta; Baltimore, MD
  • Kingdom Kare; Columbia, MD
  • East Kentwood High School; Grand Rapids, MI
  • JJ Hill Elementary School; Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
  • Urban TEC; Kansas City, MO
  • Crossroads Corp.; Charlotte, NC
  • Quail Hollow Middle School; Charlotte, NC
  • Ranson IB Middle School; Charlotte, NC
  • Coulwood STEM Academy; Charlotte, NC
  • Brooklyn Democracy Academy; Brooklyn, NY
  • The Campus/Social Work Diva; New York, NY
  • Marie Curie School for Medicine, Nursing & Health Professions; New York, NY
  • Brian Piccolo Middle School; Harlem, NY
  • The Jewish Board Mann Center-RTF; Port Chester, NY
  • Moms2B at OSU; Columbus, OH
  • Noble Academy; Columbus, OH
  • Breakthrough; Philadelphia, PA
  • Gilbert Spruance Elementary School; Philadelphia, PA
  • Harmony Community Development Corp.; Dallas, TX
  • Rice University IBB Girls STEM Initiative; Houston, TX
  • West Seattle YMCA 21st Century Community Learning Center; Seattle, WA
  • Milwaukee Community Cyber High School; Milwaukee, WI

 

This is the second set of free screenings organized by 21CF and AMC Theatres across the U.S. 21CF also recently completed “The Search for Hidden Figures” contest to uncover the next generation of female leaders in STEM fields, and gave over $200,000 in scholarships and awards to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM.


Jedidah Isler, National Geographic Explorer

On March 18, girls across the United States gathered in Microsoft Stores to hear from National Geographic Explorers about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The events were in partnership with Microsoft’s “Make What’s Next Campaign,” which aims to inspire the next generation of inventors, scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Given that only 6.7 percent of women graduate with STEM degrees, the campaign encourages girls to pursue these subjects from a young age, effectively doubling the potential to solve the worlds’ problems.

“STEM gives the express permission to ask questions about the world and to change the way it works to do something better, different, and new. I want to make sure that girls, in particular young women from marginalized communities, know that STEM—science and engineering, all of it—are for them. And that anyone who wants to study the universe, in any capacity, has the opportunity,” said Dr. Jedidah Isler, an astrophysicist and Nat Geo Explorer who led the New York City workshop. Other Nat Geo Explorers who participated in workshops across the U.S. included conservationist photographer Cristina Mittermeier, geologist Arianna Soldati, marine biologist Tierney Thys, and space architect Constance Adams.

Attendees also were treated to a Facebook Live hosted by Explorer and underwater photographer, Jenny Adler, straight from the Ichetucknee River in Florida where she is working on a conservation education project to inform future generations about freshwater through photography and creative writing.

“It’s been so great to see all of these girls coding, getting a sense of what they can do if they just start cracking things apart and then going in and writing their own way,” said Adams, “I hope that they all take some self-confidence from this event with them.”