Actor and performer Nichelle Nichols, best known for her role as Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek television series - and who appeared in the original films - has passed.
Nichols remained active in the fan community and planned a retirement tour for 2020, which was cut short by COVID. But she loved her fans back, embracing what the show and her character meant to folks.
For many of us, Nichols helped promote the idea of diversity in mainstream media, appearing alongside a cast that was intended to represent a better Earth, one which had made great strides toward valuing all types of people and knew how to work together. In many ways, Nichols was a pioneer of television - a medium which had minimal presentation of people of different races working alongside each other in the mid-60's. And, of course, the famous kiss with Shatner. And you can read for yourself how Dr. King convinced her to stay on the show.
All of this was something I was somewhat unaware of as an 11-year-old with a crush on the communications officer on my space show whilst watching reruns at 5:00 PM everyday in the mid-1980's. But finding all of this out over the years gave me perspective I know I never would have had, otherwise. It's one thing to like Uhura, and I did and I do, but another to understand what Nichols did as a person and pioneer.
I was aware that Nichols was not well for some time, and I will truly miss knowing she was out there. But I think we can all be grateful we got to share some time on this space sphere with her, if just for a bit.