9/3/09

Foxy Ladies #5: Nichelle Nichols

Obviously best known for her role as Uhura on Star Trek, the lovely Nichelle Nichols had a pretty interesting life beyond the series. For instance, Nichols was discovered by jazz legend Duke Ellington in her mid-teens, and toured with both Ellington and Lionel Hampton as a lead singer and dancer. It wasn't long before she was making a name for herself in the music biz.

Once her career took off on Star Trek, Nichelle continued following music pursuits. She took it on the road with her hubby (I'm not sure if this was during the same time she had an affair with Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry).

I have to say, however, that her singing skills are not real evident on her novelity song "Rock the World". AAAARRRGGH! My ears! If you can make it through the awful synth intro, Nichelle will crush your will to live with possibly the worst vocals/lyrics I've ever heard.



Nichelle got to demonstrate her vocal stylings in the first season of Star Trek, where she sings a seductive number in the Enterprise lounge. Disturbingly, Uhura was singing to Spock (which conjures up all kinds of images).

Fortuneately, "Charlie X" puts a telepathic kibosh on the whole vulcan seduction number and mentally chokes Uhura, Darth Vader style.

Interestingly, Nichelle Nichols had considered leaving the Star Trek franchise after the first season. Fed up with the racist harassment, culminating with her learning that studio executives were withholding her fan mail, she submitted her resignation. She withdrew it when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. personally convinced her that her role was too important a cultural breakthrough to leave. (source)

Whoopi Goldberg has said that she saw Nichols in her role as Uhura and screamed for her mother to come see that there was “a Black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!” – and then and there she knew she could be anything she wanted.

After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle played in numerous acting roles, including queen bitch in the blaxploitation classic, Truck Turner, starring Isaac Hayes. It's interesting to watch Nichelle with a foul mouth slapping around a bunch of hoes.

Sadly, her younger brother, Thomas Nichols, committed suicide with the Heaven's Gate cult members in Rancho Santa Fe, California near San Diego.

But I don't want to go out on a sad note. Let me end by saying Nichelle was one hot mama, and I'm glad MLK Jr. talked this superfine African American beauty into sticking around the Enterprise for a few more seasons.

9 comments:

  1. I love her. I'm glad she stayed with Star Trek. I never knew she almost left. She's an icon and a great role model. I loved her in Truck Turner. Definitely one hot mama.

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  2. Yeah, you haven't lived till you've seen Nichols in Truck Turner. She steals the show from both Hayes and Yaphet Kotto.

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  3. Nichelle was scheduled to be the guest at a Trek Con outside Cincy in the early 1990's. When the day arrived, it was below zero with about 12 inches of snow on the ground and still coming down! My mother-in-law tried desperately to talk us out of going but my wife and I (and 2 friends we picked up) crawled the 20 miles to the Convention Center in about two hours. Nichelle's plane hadn't arrived but we were assured she was still coming. She was. A couple hours later, she arrived! She was friendly, funny and beautiful and it was all worth the effort! (On the other hand, we bought her CD and had to sell it later as it was unlistenable!) For the record, all of the TREK actors we met during our Con-going days were wonderfully nice and friendly (which is more than one can say for some other shows which shall here remain nameless.)

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    1. I HAVE ABOUT 12-INCHES IN MY PANTS FOR NICHELLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. I concur with the others' opinions that Nichelle Nichols is amazing in Truck Turner. Goes toe-to-toe with the ever-righteous Yaphet Kotto, just like the man said. And then goes topless.

    Whew!

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  5. Thanks for the story, Booksteve. Sounds like a great experience.

    Yes, Truck Turner is incredible - I love those blaxspoitation films from the 70's. I think it's ridiculous the NAACP and other groups shut them down - these movies employed plenty of African Americans as directors, actors, etc. and the characters they portrayed were taken from real life. To me, it's racist to demand that every black actor play a role model.

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  6. Had the pleasure of meeting Nichelle this past summer at the San Diego Comic-con. I did not know she was there, I just turned the corner of the dealer room and there she was. Pleasant and beautiful as ever, we talked and I got her autograph. It was the high point of the convention for me.

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  7. Hi,
    I'm writing a book on Star Trek. Might you (or anyone else) possibly have hi-rez versions of Nichelle Nichols on the bike, and in the 'Foxy Ladies 5' picture?
    THANKS so much for your time, Steve

    PS--PLS EMAIL ME DIRECTLY AT absteve@hotmail.com

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