Friday, August 13, 2010

Nerd Girl of Note #75

75 is another number we tend to attach importance to, therefore I felt it necessary to profile one of fandom's greatest ladies, Nichelle Nichols.

Nichols began her career as a singer with with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. She hoped to go to Broadway, but then found work on a little show called Star Trek. Apparently Nichols planned to leave the show after the first season, but found an urge to stay from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who said he was a fan of both her and Rodenberry's vision of the future. He told Nichols that Uhura was the first black woman on television not playing a servant, and it was her obligation to continue that role. She was also part of the first interracial kiss on scripted television.

After Star Trek, Nichols became a volunteer recruiter for NASA with the express purpose of attracting female and minority personnel to the agency. She was key in recruiting Dr. Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut, and United States Air Force Colonel Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut.

Being a Blaxploitation fan, I have to include a clip from Truck Turner, in which Nichols plays a female pimp who is just as hard as any of her male counterparts from the genre. There is some "bad" language here.


Joe Tortuga said...

Dude! You got to #75 and just got to Nichelle Nichols? I realize I joined up in the middle, but man! ;)

Seriously, though I enjoy these posts, thanks!

Darius Whiteplume said...

I like to keep the important ones on important numbers ;-) Lynda Carter was #50, Yvonne Craig #1 (though I screwed up the numbering somewhere, so Carter was actually #51). I didn't want to blow my wad in the first couple of months ;-D

Rick Bman said...

You know, I have never seen Nichelle Nichols in anything but Star Trek, i may have to check her out in this Truck Turner movie.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have not seen Truck Turner yet. I am not a huge Isaac Hayes fan, but now that I know Nichelle is in it, I'll have to give it a watch as well.

RayRay said...

Great little post about Nichelle Nichols. I did not know about her connections to Duke Ellington nor Martin Luther King. Increased her stature in my eyes. Thanks.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I appreciate it.

I was a bit surprised to hear that King liked the show. I guess it did have a remarkably diverse cast for the time. Asians had perhaps less visibility than blacks at the time. The fact that Starfleet was more explorers than conquistadors was probably a bonus to him as well.

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