From River City Comic Expo's
Justin Nickels come word that Star Trek's Nichelle Nichols will be in attendance at this year's show. Nichols was well on her way to building a career as a singer and dancer before accepting the role of Lt. Uhura: she sang the role of Carmen in Oscar Hammerstein's "Carmen Jones" (an adaptation of Bizet's opera), danced at Hugh Hefner's Chicago Playboy Club, and toured the U.S. as a singer and choreographer with the Duke Ellington Band. After appearing on Gene Roddenberry's "The Lieutenant," he asked her to join the cast of his new project, Star Trek, as "Lieutenant Sulu," which she convinced him to change to Uhuru, then Uhura, the Swahili word for "freedom."
Tempted by the siren song of Broadway, Nichols famously considered leaving the show after the first season, and was swayed to stay by none other than Martin Luther King, Jr.,
who impressed upon her the importance of her role: a black woman cast as an expert bridge officer, fourth in command on the Enterprise, intellectually and professionally equal to her male peers. She and co-star William Shatner made TV history with the first interracial kiss on U.S. television, between Uhura and Captain Kirk.
Nichols' biography is no less dazzling after the cancellation of Star Trek: she flew on an 8-hour mission aboard the C-141 Astronomy Observatory, starred in a one-woman show paying tribute to women in jazz and blues, and helped run a NASA program called "Women in Motion," which was responsible for recruiting astronaut Sally Ride, and now visits space stations in Florida, Washington D.C. and California in support of STEM education.
The River City Comic Expo takes place June 11-12, and features the Little Rock Picture Show