I am not even a Star Trek fan in comparison to others. I watched the movies, my favorite one being the one with the whales and time travelling Trekkies. As such my experience with Star Trek is primarily limited to the OG cast. For that reason hearing the news Nichelle Nichols has passed away tugs on my heart. She is an iconic hero for girls and female identifying people everywhere.
Star Trek has always been about showing the best humanity can strive towards. Lt. Uhura, the character Nichols played, was a strong, powerful African-American woman who had a prominent role staring in a very popular science fiction television series. Over the course of the next few days you are going to be reading dozens, nay hundreds of thousands of tributes to her and I wanted to get my thoughts out there while they are fresh on my mind.
Everyone talks about the kiss. That famous first interracial kiss on network television. I don’t think of her in terms of just her sexuality like that. To me she was a role model. She was a language specialist. As a student of English who took college courses in Linguistics I was inspired by her language expertise. To me I feel we lost an iconic character that was a role model for children of all genders, especially female ones.
I don’t feel like I will write some profound tribute to her life, how can I? I never met her. I am sure there are nerds out there with stories of meeting her at conventions, not to mention journalists and entertainers who met her in a professional manner who are likely to reminisce over the next few days. I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts I had. First I hope she gets remembered for more than just a kiss. Second, she absolutely inspired young girls all across the world and that needs to be addressed. Third, I never got to meet her but I felt like she was the kind, gentle type of person that would have been a treasure to get to know.