Blog Business Entertainment Environment Health Latest News News Analysis Opinion Science Sports Technology World
Nichelle Nichols Passes, But Leaves Behind a Prominent Legacy

The iconic actress Nichelle Nichols, who was most well-known for her role as Lieutenant Uhara on the original Star Trek series, passed away on July 30th, 2022. Nichols was 89 years old and died of “natural causes”, according to a statement from her son, Kyle Johnson. In the same statement, Johnson said “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.”

Nichelle Nichols was truly a role model, both because of her acting career and outside of it. The role of Lieutenant Uhara was described by Dr. Martin Luther King as “the first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a Black woman in television history.” When Star Trek premiered in 1966, a black woman on television in and of itself was uncommon. Furthermore, when you did see black women on television, they commonly played servants or maids, and were much smaller roles.

The character of Lieutenant Uhara was truly revolutionary because she was portrayed as maintaining a position of power and respect among her white peers. Uhara also partook in one of the first interracial kisses in television history with the character of Captain Kirk, played by William Shatner.

As an example of Nichelle Nichols’ legacy, famed comedian Whoopi Goldberg has always attributed the character of Uhara as her inspiration for becoming an actress. Goldberg famously told Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry that the first time she saw Uhara onscreen she ran through her house yelling “Come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!

Nichols’ influence extends further than her acting career, however. Nichols helped recruit the first women and people of color to apply to be astronauts for NASA by starring in a promotional film for that purpose in 1977. The next astronaut class of 1978 included the first black person to go to space, Guy Bluford, and the first American female astronaut, Sally Ride.

This achievement was something that Nichols took great pride in. She stated in an interview for Smithsonian Channel “I recruited the first women and minority astronauts for the space shuttle program. I really am proud of that because at the time, people were saying ‘it’ll never happen’ you know, and I said, well it already happened.”

William Shatner tweeted a loving tribute in response to Nichols’ passing: “I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Nichelle. She was a beautiful woman & played an admirable character that did so much for redefining social issues both here in the US & throughout the world. I will certainly miss her.”

Image Credit: Desilu Productions/Paramount Television 

Editor: Lindsey Neri

Share This Post On

Tags: #nasa #uhara #nichellenichols #startrek


Leave a comment

You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in is a Global Media House Initiative by Socialnetic Infotainment Private Limited.

TheSocialTalks was founded in 2020 as an alternative to mainstream media which is fraught with misinformation, disinformation and propaganda. We have a strong dedication to publishing authentic news that abides by the principles and ethics of journalism. We are an organisation driven by a passion for truth and justice in society.

Our team of journalists and editors from all over the world work relentlessly to deliver real stories affecting our society. To keep our operations running, We need sponsors and subscribers to our news portal. Kindly sponsor or subscribe to make it possible for us to give free access to our portal and it will help writers and our cause. It will go a long way in running our operations and publishing real news and stories about issues affecting us.

Your contributions help us to expand our organisation, making our news accessible to more everyone and deepening our impact on the media.

Support fearless and fair journalism today.