How can we forget the major fail that was “Hidden Fences?” On that infamous day, Today Show correspondent Jenna Bush Hager interviewed Pharrell Williams on the Golden Globes red carpet as he was promoting Hidden Figures. His original score for the film was nominated at the time. During an atmosphere where a good number of Black-lead films were frontrunners, Bush Hager made the worst mistake: she conflated two Hidden Figures and Fences, creating a non-existent mash-up of the two.
“you’re nominated for Hidden Fences” pic.twitter.com/7My6dtEkbG
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) January 9, 2017
And thus, Hidden Fences was born. Naturally, Black Twitter was at the forefront of the comedic backlash, creating hilarious memes to uphold the strong “Black people are not a monolith” statement.
The term was cemented into pop culture inspiring one writer/comedian, Jordan Temple who decided to take it one step further and penned his first play, Hidden Fences. Temple, who also writes for MTV’s social webseries Decoded, stated the following in an essay for Afropunk:
“I wanted to reclaim that slip-up and felt like it was ripe for satire. As a kid, I watched some of the best black comedians and learned from the greats. Whether it was The Wayans with “Don’t Be A Menace To Society While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood” at the movies, “Chappelle’s Show” on TV, or my Grandmother saying “whitey” on the la-z-boy. I was born and raised in the projects in Queens, New York City, youngest of two, by a single mom, one project over from the infamous QueensBridge Housing projects. I’ve chipped my front tooth twice and clocked hours observing from my project window. I’m like the Nas of comedy.
The premise of “Hidden Fences,” in my version, is that ‘Troy’ wants to be the first Black man to hit a baseball into space, and the “Hidden Figures” are gonna do the math to help get it there. The story loosely combines the two movies and uses a range of references from Black movies, music, and culture into one long-burning joke that has a bunch of jokes in between. The character I play, ‘Troy,’ is a garbage man who is down on his luck. He used to be one of the best space baseball players in his youth, but never got the opportunity to play on the Moon. His wife, Rosemary, works for NASA and she demoralizes him at every turn. His son, Cory, just got a space baseball scholarship, which is much to Troy’s dismay.”
Check out the trailer for the Hidden Fences satirical play below!