When I was growing up, back when dirt was young and dinosaurs roamed the Earth, I only had three women on TV who I could look up to, Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Uhura. Star Trek was a huge part of my childhood, it was on everyday at 6pm on channel 2 in the SF Bay Area, and I would sit on the couch next to my dad and we would watch it. There were very few black people in my town as I was growing up, so Uhura fulfilled a dual role for me, not only was she was a woman on TV I could look up to, but she was also one of the few POC I regularly saw. Thanks to her I saw that WOC could shoot a phaser with the best of them and repair a communications array under fire. She was never a damsel in distress, she was a full fledged crew member who had the respect of her coworkers. When I stop and think about it, it’s depressing just how few women we have like this on TV even today.
To celebrate her birthday, here is a video where Nichelle talks about a young skin head she met in England. SPOILER: She had a huge impact on him. Everyone loves Nichelle!
Nichelle Nichols took her ride on NASA’s SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) plane. Because the telescope observes a band of radiation that is absorbed by our atmosphere, it has to be flown to around 40,00 feet to function. The flight took off Tuesday night and lasted seven hours.
And she brought a Tribble!!!! Give me a moment so I can I squee like the fangirl I am!
This picture makes me insanely happy.
Nichelle is well-known for her work with NASA to recruit more minorities and women into the STEM ranks. When I was growing up, back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, Uhura was about the only female engineer on TV and definitely the only WOC in STEM. Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, cited Nichelle as a huge influence on her choice of career.
I want to be Nichelle Nichols when I grow up; it might actually make growing up worth it.