Star Trek’s trailblazing Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, dies at 89

Star Trek’s trailblazing Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, dies at 89

Issued on: 01/08/2022 – 15:45 Nichelle Nichols, a groundbreaking Black actress who performed communications officer Nyota Uhura with cool authority on the favored Nineteen Sixties sequence “Star Trek,” has died at 89. Her son, Kyle Johnson, introduced the loss of life on the official uhura.com web site, saying, “Final night time, my mom, Nichelle Nichols,

Issued on:

Nichelle Nichols, a groundbreaking Black actress who performed communications officer Nyota Uhura with cool authority on the favored Nineteen Sixties sequence “Star Trek,” has died at 89.

Her son, Kyle Johnson, introduced the loss of life on the official uhura.com web site, saying, “Final night time, my mom, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to pure causes and handed away. Her gentle, nonetheless, like the traditional galaxies now being seen for the primary time, will stay.”

A household spokesman mentioned Nichols died in Silver Metropolis, New Mexico, the place she had been dwelling along with her son.

Tributes poured in rapidly, together with from a protracted record of devoted “Trekkies.”

William Shatner, who performed the USS Enterprise’s Captain James T. Kirk, despatched his condolences to Nichols’ household.

“She was a lovely girl & performed an admirable character that did a lot for redefining social points each right here within the US & all through the world. I’ll definitely miss her.”  

George Takei, who as helmsman Sulu shared the bridge with Lieutenant Uhura, referred to as her “trailblazing and incomparable.”


And US President Joe Biden mentioned Nichols “redefined what is feasible for Black People and girls.” 

“Our nation is without end indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who present us a future the place unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of each society,” he mentioned in an announcement. 

Nichols made historical past with one of many first interracial kisses on US tv — a 1968 embrace shared with Shatner (a kiss deemed worthy of a separate entry in Wikipedia).

Martin Luther King Jr. himself as soon as praised Nichols, who broke floor along with her highly effective efficiency at a time when Black actors extra typically have been forged as servants or criminals.

‘An equal position’

Nichols, who had skilled in ballet and musical theater, at one level informed “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry that she wished to give up the present to return to the theater.

However when she talked about that to King, in an opportunity assembly recounted by the Hollywood Reporter: “All of the smile got here off his face and he mentioned, ‘You’ll be able to’t do this. Do not you perceive, for the primary time, we’re seen as we ought to be seen? You do not have a Black position. You’ve gotten an equal position.'”

She stayed.

Nichols labored as a recruiter for NASA — which reached out to her after she had criticized its lack of variety — and efficiently inspired a number of proficient African-People and girls of all races to contemplate careers with the house company. 

NASA paid tribute to her legacy in a tweet Sunday night, calling her a “trailblazer and position mannequin” who “symbolized to so many what was attainable.”

The Nationwide Air and Area Museum additionally praised her work past the display screen.

“She was an inspiration to many, not only for her groundbreaking work on Star Trek but in addition via her work with NASA to recruit ladies and other people of colour to use to grow to be astronauts,” the museum tweeted.

Whereas finest often known as Uhura, Nichols had a diversified profession, dancing with Sammy Davis Jr. in “Porgy and Bess,” showing on the NBC sequence “Heroes” and recording an album.  

She additionally performed Uhura — a reputation taken from the Swahili for “freedom” — within the first six “Star Trek” films.

The Smithsonian, the US nationwide museum community, shared an image on Twitter of the crimson house jacket Nichols wore as Uhura on display screen, adorned with the enduring “Star Trek” pin, which is now on show on the Nationwide Museum of African American Historical past and Tradition in Washington.


(AFP)

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