It's legend now but Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lt. Uhura, on the original Star Trek series almost quit the show. Script wise there wasn't much to her part. She answered the phone! (Laughing), Oh come on, she did. (Laughing)
In fairness, there wasn't much to any one's part other than Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy and Scotty. God, help you if you were just a helmsmen in a red shirt! You know, that poor dude in the red shirt usually was on the one killed horribly on each mission. He was the poor Black security guard or Black dude killed sometimes within the first half of the movie or the one that gets killed in a movie before there were Black Dude's getting killed in the movie. But I digress!
Dr. Martin Luther King spoke with the young actress and convinced her that she must stay for our sakes. She was very important to our people and to America. We needed to be represented in space, in fantasy, in the future. And thinking about it now, nekked, eating cheetos, What? Oh, too much information huh? Just kidding...I'm not eating cheetos! ( Laughing)
Oh lighten up!
Lt. Uhura was important because she represented Afrika and Afrikan Americans in the future, Black folks across the multiverses. Milk Chocolate skin, wide nose and broad lips, hair styled with a hot comb and a Swahili name. Revolutionary! Subversive! And that mini dress.......Give me a minute......But I digress! ( Laughing) Oh grow up, ya pansies!
If that conversation really occurred then it is important when speaking of the future that a race be in it but what are we doing in the future? Are we playing three dimensional characters, good and bad? Is space truly colorblind, truly classless? Is it not just a new frontier but a wild frontier? Even if the future is more of the present in space we need to be there.
How many Black folks have appeared in all the Trek series including films since Lt. Uhuru? Come on Trekkies! Come on, most of us even if you ain't Trekkies love Star Trek! How many? Less than Three hundred? Think about it. Star Trek, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. Five television series! It's a franchise! How many people of color are there not of some European extraction including Romanian Gypsy extraction, Greek or Armenian?
That's just the Trek! But that doesn't mean that we have not been developed into more three dimensional characters. We've grown and while quantity is still low quality is well stocked!
Has anyone seen Freema Aguaman, the actress who plays Dr. Martha Jones on the British series Dr. Who? She's plays such a kick azz character. Medical Student, Time traveler, adventurer and she's so fine! Give me a minute.........just kidding! (Laughter) The BBC has used her and other Afro Caribbeans/Afro Brits/Afro Arabs and Afrikans in all their productions but definitely in Dr. Who. We are not the dominant culture so you can still tell which one is us but some of the Stereotypes are resting at least for now. Y'all should check it on BBC America or The Sci Fi Channel.
It is important that the future be diverse because fiction believe it or not is a species true gut check on its worldview.
To the Stars!
Be Mindful, Be Careful! Be Prayerful!