Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Lieutenant Uhura: Remixed.
Since her inception in the late 1960s, Star Trek's Lt. Uhura has remained a pop-culture icon. The beehive-rocking, smart, Chief Communications Officer of the USS Enterprise, introduced international television audiences to a kind of black woman it had never seen before: a sista literally light-years ahead. Becoming one of the first African American characters to join a culturally diverse television cast, actress Nichelle Nichols helped to change archaic notions that once crippled the sci-fi genre, and proved once and for all that people of color would, indeed, have a place in the celluloid future.
Though, Nichols made Uhura's sci-fi trekking look easy, she battled racial inequalities both in front of and behind the scenes and had once contemplated leaving the show in its first season, until Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked her into staying. The legendary leader told her how important it was for the world to see her in such a groundbreaking role--and who can really argue with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr? Nichelle Nichols continued through the shows' three seasons, making television history along the way. King's words would ring true when, years later, Mae Jamison, the first black female astronaut, cited seeing Uhura on television as an inspiration for joining NASA.
Now, forty years later, the iconic role of Lt. Uhura will have a new face: Zoe Saldana's. The new Star Trek film will begin shooting this winter and is expected to hit theaters Christmas 2008.
Zoe has been given some pretty big shoes to fill, but we're sure she'll wear them well. Beam her on up, Scotty!