Music & Film

The Story of Henrietta Lacks

The Story of Henrietta Lacks

Photo Credit: Refinery29

If you’re not familiar with Henrietta Lacks, she was a 31-year-old African American woman who died of cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951.  After her death doctors discovered Lacks’ cells were still able to reproduce. This human cell phenomenon was a first in history.

Without her knowledge or consent, doctors stored and used Henrietta’s cells for medical research.  Her cells were utilized in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in-vitro fertilization, and many other medical advancements.

Although Henrietta’s cells are very important to the medical field most people are not aware of who she is.  Her cells have been bought and sold for billions of dollars but her family was never compensated.


henrietta lacks 2
Photo Credit: Mashable

Oprah Winfrey wanted to make sure that people were aware of who Henrietta Lacks was, so she became the executive producer of the film “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” which is based on the bestselling book by Rebecca L. Skloot.

The movie will focus on the relationship between Rebecca Skloot and Henrietta’s daughter Deborah, who is played by Oprah Winfrey.  Rebecca spent 10 years working on the book about Henrietta’s life which was published in 2010.  The film will also shed light on the families resentment over not being compensated for the use of Henrietta’s cells.

The film will premiere this Saturday 04/22/2017 at 8pm Eastern on HBO.


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