Foxy Ladies #5: Nichelle Nichols
Obviously best known for her role as Uhura on Star Trek, the lovely Nichelle Nichols had a pretty interesting life beyond the series. For instance, Nichols was discovered by jazz legend Duke Ellington in her mid-teens, and toured with both Ellington and Lionel Hampton as a lead singer and dancer. It wasn't long before she was making a name for herself in the music biz.
Once her career took off on Star Trek, Nichelle continued following music pursuits. She took it on the road with her hubby (I'm not sure if this was during the same time she had an affair with Star Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry).
I have to say, however, that her singing skills are not real evident on her novelity song "Rock the World". AAAARRRGGH! My ears! If you can make it through the awful synth intro, Nichelle will crush your will to live with possibly the worst vocals/lyrics I've ever heard.
Nichelle got to demonstrate her vocal stylings in the first season of Star Trek, where she sings a seductive number in the Enterprise lounge. Disturbingly, Uhura was singing to Spock (which conjures up all kinds of images).
Fortuneately, "Charlie X" puts a telepathic kibosh on the whole vulcan seduction number and mentally chokes Uhura, Darth Vader style.
Whoopi Goldberg has said that she saw Nichols in her role as Uhura and screamed for her mother to come see that there was “a Black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!” – and then and there she knew she could be anything she wanted.
After Star Trek was cancelled, Nichelle played in numerous acting roles, including queen bitch in the blaxploitation classic, Truck Turner, starring Isaac Hayes. It's interesting to watch Nichelle with a foul mouth slapping around a bunch of hoes.
Sadly, her younger brother, Thomas Nichols, committed suicide with the Heaven's Gate cult members in Rancho Santa Fe, California near San Diego.
But I don't want to go out on a sad note. Let me end by saying Nichelle was one hot mama, and I'm glad MLK Jr. talked this superfine African American beauty into sticking around the Enterprise for a few more seasons.