Thanks to the great article about the emergence of #Blerds I no longer feel strange by admitting one of my secret Tracy-ism’s. Latch key kids was the term used to describe children raised by a television set, and so there I am, a pre-teen suffering from insomnia.
Night after night, long after both of my parents had fallen asleep, I would sneak out into the living room. I manually (gasp!) turned the television dial in search of something interesting to watch on television in the midnight hour.
There wasn’t much to choose from back then, and for that I’m lucky, had there been a billion channels to choose from like there is now, then I would never know the brilliance of Star Trek. Wikipedia does a perfectly good job of filling you young folk in on the details of this morsel of out of the box thinking.
Star Trek is an Americanscience fictionentertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry and currently under the ownership of CBS.[Note 1] The franchise began in 1966 with the television series Star Trek later referred to as Star Trek: The Original Series.
Yes!! I thought it was only the television show until one day I was in a book store and wandered over to the sci-fi section. There I was shocked to learn there was not only more Star Trek, there were different and new and alternative forms of Star Trek. For a girl who would go on to become a writer, finding out that it was acceptable to take a story and re-work it was grand. I had found a new world, I had a name, Trekkie, I was excited. My peers on the other hand, thought I was a weirdo geek when I tried to put them down on this elite club of fiction lovers.
Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon since its beginning. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies or Trekkers. The franchise a wide range of spin-offs including games, novels, toy lines and replicas. Star Trek had a themed attraction in Las Vegas which opened in 1998 and closed in September 2008. At least two museum exhibits of props travel the world. The series even has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon. Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions such as the cell phone. Moreover, the show is noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The original series included one of television’s first multiracial casts, and the first televised multiracial kiss.
Nichlle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek mesmerized me. She was petite, poised and seemed to have such an important job, since Captain Kirk had to refer to her for certain information before he raised his eye brow and looked intently into the camera. I wasn’t the only one who was intrigued with the chocolate brown beauty with the cute go-g0 skirt-ish space ship uniform.
It was in Star Trek that Nichols gained popular recognition by being one of the first black women featured in a major television series not portraying a servant; her prominent supporting role as a bridge officer was unprecedented. During the first year of the series, Nichols was tempted to leave the show, as she wanted to pursue a Broadway career; however, a conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., changed her mind. She has said that King personally encouraged her to stay on the show, telling her that he was a big fan of the series. He said she “could not give up” because she was playing a vital role model for black children and young women across the country, as well as for other children who would see African Americans appearing as equals. It is also often reported that Dr. King added that “Once that door is opened by someone, no one else can close it again.”
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one geeking off on Lieutenant Uhura.
Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison has cited Nichols’s role of Lieutenant Uhura as her inspiration for wanting to become an astronaut and Whoopi Goldberg has also spoken of Nichols’s influence. Goldberg asked for a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the character of Guinan was specially created, while Jemison appeared in an episode of the series.
Who knew I was watching history go down, all I know is that Captain Kirk was giving her the sleepy eye and there was a lot of whispering and slow build up to the final PUCKER!!!
If I’m not mistaken, seeing these two sizzle on screen was what made me know that I would one day become a fan of kissing, just as soon as I figured out boys.
I, too, wanted to experience the world’s longest apprehensive pucker…….thanks to these two!!
In her role as Lieutenant Uhura, Nichols famously kissed white actor William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk in the November 22, 1968, Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren“. The episode is popularly cited as the first example of an inter-racial kiss on United States television. The Shatner-Nichols kiss was seen as groundbreaking, even though the kiss was portrayed as having been forced by alientelekinesis.
There was some praise and some protest. In her 1994 autobiography, Beyond Uhura, Star Trek and Other Memories, on page 197 Nichols cites a letter from one white Southerner who wrote: “I am totally opposed to the mixing of the races. However, any time a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a beautiful dame in his arms that looks like Uhura, he ain’t gonna fight it.”
I feel so much better now after having gotten this off my chest. I can’t possibly be the only Black girl Trekkie here.
So let me know…..am I the lone freak here or what? And if not, what’s your favorite Star Trek episode? I had the hots for Sulu, Spock, and Scotty…..*blank stare*
I found the Dr. Spock character from the 2009 Star Trek movie to be extremely sexy; also the fact that he was involved in an intergalactic tension filled swirling love triangle between he, and young Kirk, as they grinned and beard each other’s company while pining for the lovely Uhura (played by Zoe Saldano).
Live long and prosperous…