Thoughts on Uhura:
Uhura was a skilled communications officer, could take over other duties on the bridge as needed, and could handle problems and difficult situations when they arose. She had Mr. Spock’s complete confidence, a compliment by any standard. Away from her post, she remained brave and calm in the face of danger, which was often key to saving lives of her crewmates or even the Enterprise.
“Uhura” is derived from the Swahili word for “freedom.”
Uhura’s role on-screen was important, but Nichelle Nichols made it much bigger. I think that she, probably more than any of the other Star Trek actors, embraced being known as her character. Her delight at being associated with Star Trek shone through in every convention appearance, interview, and fan interaction that I’ve seen, unaccompanied by any of the drama or subtle resentment one sometimes sees or hears about from other stars. After Star Trek she helped NASA recruit women and minorities to the space program.
One small detail I liked about Nichelle Nichols is that, with her computer console often fully visible on camera, I thought she was one of the best at acting like was a real console and pressing buttons as though they actually did something!
My favorite Uhura moments are:
- Mirror, Mirror. Afraid at first, Uhura quickly gained her confidence and performed well “undercover,” obtaining information and skillfully manipulating “mirror Sulu” to distract him from an alert, thereby probably saving the lives of her away team getting them all back to their correct universe.
- Star Trek III. Uhura took a seemingly dead end assignment that put her in a position vital to the success of the plan to save Spock. I liked how she put up with the ranting of her brash young crewmate, never giving the slightest hint that anything was about to happen until it did, then calmly jabbed a phaser in his chest and locked him in a closet.
- Check out the Uhura page on memory-alpha
- Visit Nichelle Nichols’ official site, uhura.com
- Most Star Trek fans are already aware of Nichelle Nichols’ pioneering role as one of the first African American lead characters on television, and how she stayed with Star Trek due to a personal request from Martin Luther King, Jr. If you’re not familiar with the story, you can watch Nichelle Nichols tell it.