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01/16/2017 10:35 am ET | Updated Jan 16, 2017

Octavia Spencer Bought Out A Screening Of 'Hidden Figures' For Low-Income Families

"My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings."

Noam Galai via Getty Images

“Hidden Figures” star Octavia Spencer knows firsthand that many families won’t have the opportunity to see the movie while it continues its reign at the box office

“My mom would not have been able to afford to take me and my siblings,” the actor said in a message posted to her Instagram account. So in honor of her mom and other single parents, Spencer invited low-income families to see the film for free over Martin Luther King weekend. The star bought out Friday’s 8 p.m. showing of “Hidden Figures” at the Rave movie theater in Los Angeles, and she told people to spread the word.

“If you know a family in need that would like to see our movie but can’t afford it have them come,” Spencer added. “It’s first come first served.”

The critically acclaimed film tells the story of three black female scientists and mathematicians who helped NASA send a man into orbit. The movie has been praised for its portrayal of women of color and women in science ― people are even setting up GoFundMe campaigns to help girls see the film.

Spencer grew up with a single mother and six siblings. Her mom, Dellsena, took on several jobs, including as a maid, to support her family. Dellsena died when Spencer was 18 years old. The actor has spoken candidly about the profound impact her mother’s work ethic and tenacity left on her.

“I had a very strong mom who made me and my sisters understand that there were no limitations on our lives except what we placed on ourselves,” she told People magazine. 

First lady Michelle Obama also hosted a screening of “Hidden Figures” at the White House in December, raving about the film’s “remarkable story” and important message.

“These women couldn’t even drink from the same water fountain or use the same bathroom as many of their colleagues … and folks didn’t always take these women seriously because they were black, and also because they were women,” Obama said. 

“They didn’t listen to those doubters,” she added. “They did not listen to the haters — because they’re always out there.”

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