Nichols Talks First Inter-Racial KissBy Christian
September 5, 2001 - 1:47 PM
While for many people the kiss between Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura in the Original Series was a ground-breaking statement on racial relations, according to actress Nichelle Nichols it also showed the relations on the Star Trek set.
"That was so funny," she told EMusic.com in an interview that is now available for free download. "By that time, I didn't think of it as The First inter-racial kiss. I just got the script, and I said 'Oh, wow, great! We're going to get a little romance in here!' [...] Not many people know this, but it was originally written as being between Uhura and Spock. But Bill Shatner said 'Oh no! If anyone is going to get to kiss Nichelle, it's going to be me!' And so they rewrote it, and we all laughed about it."
As the actual airdate approached, laughter was replaced by worries over how the public would react. "We got to the day - you know, the Great Day. And all of a sudden there was this buzz around the studio, they were concerned how the South was going to take it," Nichols said, but added that the response proved to be very positive. "The mail poured in. We had more mail on that episode than any other episode in all of the time of Star Trek. But Gene [Roddenberry] said to me over a letter from the fanmail, 'This one letter in here, this is the extent of the negative mail that we've received.' And it was from a man in the South who said 'I don't believe in the integration of races and the fraternization of the races, but anytime a red-blooded American boy like Captain Kirk gets a girl in his arms that looks like Lieutenant Uhura, he ain't gonna fight it.' So so much for the worries and the concerns about whether people can handle it, so I think we knew we were on the right track."
Someone else who thought Star Trek was on the right track with Uhura was Dr. Martin Luther King, who persuaded Nichols to stay on the show. "I met Dr. King at a fundraiser and he told me that I was one of the most important people in his family. That they watched Star Trek and that I was a role model and their hero. And I said I said I was very proud of that and that was very nice, and then I told him that I was [considering] leaving the show, and he said abruptly - 'You can not! You absolutely must not. Do you know that you have the first non-stereotypical role on television? You're a first. This is not a female role. This is not a black role. This is a quality role, and this is an equal role, and it is in a command position. You have to carry on, because not only do little black children and do women see you and aspire and do you have meaning for them, but everyone else sees us for the first time the way we are supposed to be - on an equal basis, and on a level of dignity and authority and with the highest of qualifications.'"
In the full interview, Nichols revealed why she was considering leaving the show, and also talks about the impact her role had on NASA and on actress Whoopi Goldberg, as well as recalling some memories of Gene Roddenberry. The full interview, which is available as a 15-minute MP3 file, can be downloaded for free from EMusic as part of its celebration of Star Trek's 35th Anniversary.
During this celebration, EMusic offers Star Trek fans the ability to sign up for a free 30-day trial version of its music downloading service, allowing them to download up to 100 free Star Trek MP3s. Some of the MP3s available include the themes from TOS, TNG, DS9 and Voyager, as well as various soundtracks from the series and films. Over the coming weeks, the catalogue will be extended with audio interviews with Tim Russ (Tuvok) and Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer), as well as additional soundtracks - these will all be available to people who sign up to the trial version.
In order to sign up for the trial, all users have to do is create an EMusic account and choose the 100 tracks they want to download, which can be done here. In order to ensure the same person can only sign up once, the site requires visitors to enter their email address and credit card number, but the credit card will not be charged unless visitors decide to subscribe to the company after the free trial run is over.
EMusic is the world's first authorised distributor of MP3 music from major artists. The company licenses its music from labels and believes in rewarding artists for their music. For every track which is downloaded from the site (including the tracks included in this new offer) the company compensates the artist. In addition, by participating in this free trial you will not only be supporting the artists, but also TrekToday.
The tracks are available in the regular MP3 format, meaning that they can be easily and conveniently played on PCs or portable players, and can even be burned to CD-R for playback on any CD player.
To download your 100 free Star Trek MP3s, please follow this link.