Space, the final frontier, not only mystery and opportunity, but also fashion. Nichelle Nichols first joined the crew of the USS Enterprise in 1966 with Nyota Uhura. This feature will soon change history.
At first, “Star Trek” felt like a cheap little show thrown together on NBC to fill up some airtime and get people to watch a campy space show. Instead, it proved an object not only to show the future that we can have in the next hundred years, but also to show the future that we can do now.
On the show’s first airing, the Civil Rights Movement was in full swing. Nichols was all set to leave the show until a calm voice told her to stay calm as she got the role she wanted. That voice was the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights leader, who told her that “Star Trek” allowed his daughters to watch the show late because it showed a black woman in a position of power and equality. This prompted her to stay on the show and share her first interracial kiss on national television.
The rest is history.
As God blessed Nichols, we are left with her amazing legacy of inspiring black girls like me to enter STEM and see her outside the box. Many people of color and especially black girls are fascinated by the “space woman” beauty. A mix of 60s and 70s style hairstyles and colorful makeup. This is especially evident in the cover art for Beyoncé’s latest album, “Renaissance.”
The glittering galactic horse, diamonds cover her body and the dark background evokes the endless void of space. This spacegirl is a black launch to its highest potential, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Nichols to lead the way forward. Beyoncé was not only inspired by her, but artists like Doja Kat were also featured in the video for her album “Planet Her”, especially the song “More Than My Name”.
Finally, we have the black princess of pop, Rihanna, who performed a song called “Sledgehammer” for 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond.” In this video, instead of portraying herself as Uhura or a human member of Starfleet, Rihanna appears as an alien.
Nichols’ contributions are legendary and have inspired not only many, but myself as well. It was her role of breaking boundaries that showed black people that the sky is not only the limit but also the stars. Of all the souls I knew, she was her own person.