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'Hidden Figures' star Octavia Spencer hosts free screening for underprivileged

Actress Octavia Spencer, who stars in the hit historical drama "Hidden Figures," is offering a free screening Friday night especially for those who might not be able to afford a trip to the movies. Spencer said she bought out the 8 p.m. showing of the movie at Rave Cinemas in Baldwin Hills in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

"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,” she wrote in an Instagram post.

The movie follows three black female NASA employees who played a critical role in helping NASA launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson crossed gender and racial lines to help NASA reignite interest in the space race.

The film has done very well, finally unseating “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” after that film’s reign at the box office.

While on the trail marketing the movie, the cast and crew have also been trying to bring greater awareness to the lack of minorities in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math. Along the way, they’ve been seeking to inspire young women, especially black girls, to pursue careers in STEM.

The cast and filmmakers behind  “Hidden Figures” have taken the opportunity to make the film accessible to everyone. Earlier this week, 10,000 female students saw a special screening in Exposition Park and got to hear from the stars, NBC L.A. reported. The screening was through "Girls Build L.A."

Before that, there was an 11-city series of screenings offered by 20th Century Fox in partnership with the group Black Girls Code. As part of that initiative, members of Black Girls Code helped put together the website, telling their stories of how they have been inspired by Johnson’s story. 

"As an aspiring young woman in the tech field, she is a great inspiration to me," student Charmienne, 13, said in a page on the site. "I hope to show other girls my age that they can do amazing things to have an impact for humanity and the planet through science by creating energy, conserving resources and curing diseases."

Charmienne video

"She was living in a time where people (especially men) didn't believe that women could work in a STEM field let alone women of color such as Katherine Johnson," Kimora, 13, said on her page. "However, she didn't let the stereotypes affect her from striving to beat the odds."

Kimora video

"Hidden Figures" is in theaters everywhere and is considered a major awards contender.