Nichols Never Expected Resolution for UhuraBy Michelle
November 2, 2006 - 10:14 PM
Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) spoke recently about the loyalty of fans, her acceptance of show business and plans to revive her one-woman show, saying that she prefers to think about Star Trek's future than the condition of the world today.
"I had a company called Women In Motion and it was directed at science and math for inner city kids to get them interested in learning and to show them that not only was it a vital part of their life and future, but it could be fun," Nichols explained to iF Magazine. Star Trek, she added, made it possible for viewers regardness of ethnicity, nationality or background, to "turn on that television and you could see yourself as a full grown human being. You could see yourself as a hero, as someone worth knowing and worthy of that respect."
Asked whether she was sorry that Uhura never had the sort of resolution in the films that the producers of the fan film Of Gods and Men attempted for the characters, Nichols was philosophical. "For me show business is show business. You might have a series that you do a pilot and it doesn’t get on, or you do a series that you do a pilot and it does get on and you are out of there in a couple of weeks," she said. "That's the nature of the beast in the career that you have chosen. So, that didn’t bother me so much."
Nichols admitted that she was surprised Star Trek lasted even three years, though "it would have been lovely" had the original series run for the entire five-year mission mentioned in the opening. "As it was, everybody went on to do the things they do. I come out of the world of musical theatre and recording, so it wasn’t difficult for me at all [to move on]. What was difficult was not seeing the gang, that nostalgia...I did not have the series remorse that you can get when a show is cancelled, I was immediately busy and have stayed busy all these years."
The actress acknowledged the enormous role fans played in keeping Star Trek alive, laughing that the fans consistently keep her honest by connecting her with all the ways in which the show has affected people's lives. "I think it’s possibly because it takes place in the future and it came on at a time when this country was in turmoil and at a turning point as well where it could’ve gone in any direction," she said. "We’re talking about the Civil Rights movement, the Women’s Liberation movement, the uncertainty of the USSR and the US being superpowers that someone in a fit or snit might push a button and destroy the world...we had great leaders then, but they also were doing battle with the problems of the world, and I’m just looking at from the view of an American seeing problems from our point of view."
Because of this, Nichols believes that Star Trek enabled people to believe that they would become the better human beings depicted on the series. "People going forth in peaceful exploration with non-interference, what a concept, non-interference with other cultures," she said. "I don’t want to talk about the world today, because it seems like we’ve fallen back pre-everything."
Nichols is hoping to perform Reflections again soon, a one-woman show she describes as "my reflections of the women who affected my life as I was growing up as an artist." She plays twelve iconic women including Lena Horne, Mahahlia Jackson and Billie Holiday.
The full interview is here.