Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Nyota Uhura

In 1966 Nichelle Nichols played Lieutenant Nyota Uhura for three seasons going boldly where no woman has gone before. In 2266 Uhura took to the stars aboard the original USS Enterprise NCC 1701 in her most famous role as Communications Officer entertaining viewers with her "Hailing frequencies open, Captain." Her character is eventually promoted in Starfleet to the rank of Commander. Indeed Uhura reached deep into the hearts and minds of trek fans right accross the space time continuum and proved to be a valuable technician manning the USS Enterprise 1701. Under the command of Captain Kirk, Uhura is responsible for all incoming and outgoing starship communications. Her bridge responsibilities require establishing first contact with alien worlds, bypassing and repairing communication starship systems, detecting and isolating communication signals, responding to distress calls, warning the Captain and raising Starfleet Command.

Uhura can always be relied upon to cheer up the USS Enterprise by singing and seranading to her fellow crew mates in song. In fact her most shocking interstellar experience occured on stardate 3541.9 when the Enterprise was taken over by the space probe Nomad. The probe misunderstood Uhura's singing of 'Beyond Antares,'which she was fond of and assimulated all her memories in an effort to correct a malfunctioning biological unit. Captain Kirk was naturally displeased with Nomad but fortunately Dr Mc Coy's skilled medical techniques restored Uhura's memory to within fully operational starship parameters.

On stardate 5784.2, Uhura performed the first groundbreaking kiss between an Africian-American and a Caucasian, controlled by alien empaths, she was forced to kiss her commanding officer, Captain James T. Kirk in Platos Stepchildren. It was too bad for Trekkies in Europe because it was over 25 years before British television allowed it to be broadcast. Thats how delayed Europe is to the Americas. The history of Star Trek from the 1960s to 2007, depicts conflicts leading to the eventual rise and rapid emancipation of women on tv, films, the internet and societies accross theglobe. Nichelle Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan in Star Treks TNG TenForward, JoanCollins as Edith Keeler in Star Trek's 'The City on the Edge of Forever', Mary Mc Alese as President of Ireland, Governor Sarah Palin and Sonia O'Sullivan have succeeded and become major forces to be reckoned with.

In 1968 Star Trek took the first step with Nichelle Nichols and it was a very neat one indeed despite NBC insisting that Kirk and Uhura's lips not be captured on camera. Even so, Nichols states in her book, 'Saturn's Child,' that the kiss was real. Because she is both female and black, Lieutenant Uhura represents two disparate communities united in the shape of one actress. Its interesting to note how far society as a whole has come all because of Star Trek and Nichelle's chance encounter with Martin Luther King. He urged her to remain on as Communications Officer because her character served as a role model not only for blacks but for everyone. Luther's words had such an effect on Nichol's that she later revealed in a "20/20" interview, "I knew that now black children must look at me on that ship even if I was pushing some buttons and know that 'this is a person that I can identify with, that I can emulate.'" One of those kids was Whoopi Goldberg, who told Starlog magazine, "I've been a Trekkie from way back. The only time you ever saw black people in the future was on Star Trek." In 1987 the Enterprise Starship Legacy lived on in the crew of the USS Enterprrise NCC 1701-D. Nichelle and Whoopi may not be in the captain's chair yet but Guinan is on the Flagship of the Federation and Lieutenant Uhura is on the Bridge of the USS Enterprise NCC 1701.

Kiss long and Prosper, Trekkies!

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