Nichelle Nichols. Happy 84th birthday, you tremendous talent. For those of us lucky enough to grow up with Star Trek in our households, an inspiration, you were a beacon of hope for those fighting a civil rights revolution. In 2016, we're still fighting and you are still inspiring. So to celebrate your birthday and your incredible portrayal as Uhura, we want to list 10 of our absolute favorite moments in Star Trek history that feature our favorite communications officer.
The Naked Time
There's a lot of craziness going on during "The Naked Time," most notorious of which is Sulu prancing around shirtless with his, uh... rapier out. But maybe the best moment in the entire episode comes when Sulu declares to Uhura, "I'll protect you, fair maiden," to which she responds, "Sorry, neither." Uhura is not a woman in need of saving, certainly not from some drunk fool with his shirt off.
Remember that time Uhura had her entire memory wiped? Kind of a bummer. And NOMAD, the robot responsible is kind of a huge misogynist with his "mass of conflicting impulses" crack about our dear Lieutenant. But here's what I'll say -- silly though it may be, Uhura re-learns up to college level by episode end. BY EPISODE END! Also, she speaks Swahili even after her mind is wiped, which is pretty killer. Would you be able to do all that? I wouldn't.
Once Upon a Planet
Listen, I'm not saying that Uhura solely convinces a super computer not to enslave humanity, but she does help. And had she not been able to outwit the hyper-intelligent computer while she was kidnapped, Kirk, Spock, and Bones most certainly would not have made it out of this jam from the animated series alive.
Remember when Uhura sang TWICE. One song about the creepy-eyed, titular Charlie X, and then again about Spock. Look, I'm just saying that, if anyone could get Spock to play a harp to a tune about how he looks like a devil in disguise, it's Uhura.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
I know. You're thinking "The @#$ing fan dance?!" Yes. The fan dance. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier may be the worst Star Trek movie (that isn't Into Darkness), but there is something to be said about a movie who, unironically, scripts a woman in her mid-fifties to successfully seduce a group of men with a fan dance on top of a dune. And it works! Of course it works. Nichelle is amazing. No one can resist her. And, if for this scene alone, Star Trek V ain't all that bad.
"Why does she strike him?" "She likes him." Yes, Uhura, Queen of Deception, tricks Mudd's androids into believing that she has betrayed her crewmates in exchange for an android body of her own. The androids should've known better than to believe Uhura would be cashing in her chips on the body she's got. I mean... you serious, androids? Please. Uhura is too good for you. Anyway, the trailer for the episode is above. Check it out; it's like an acid trip.
First of all, DAT COSTUME. But bare midriff aside (and, I mean, that's a big aside because how bad do I wish I could pull that thing off), it's the dagger in the boot part that really gets me. Sulu, in all his majestic, scarred glory, tries to make moves on Uhura and she lets him after one failed attempt... kinda. But it's just a clever ruse to hide an incoming message. And just like that, she changed her mind... again. I'm not saying Uhura wants to stay in the mirror universe, but I bet she spent some late nights thinking about that dagger and how she probably could use it on creepy dudes who get up in her business.
The Lorelei Signal
An animated episode where the men of the Enterprise get duped by some beautiful women. Rubes. While many of the men wind up having their life force sucked out of them by the alien women, Uhura and Nurse Chapel lead the women of the Enterprise to go whip some alien ass. In the end the day gets saved, and the men return to their virile selves. But, let's be real, Uhura and Nurse Chapel are the dynamic duo the show should've spent way more time on and "The Lorelei Signal" is the proof.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
In which Uhura locks some rando bro in a closet when he starts talking about how she's washed up and he's got a bright, adventurous future ahead. Mr. Adventure, indeed.
We can't write this list and not include the first interracial kiss in the history of broadcast television as the top spot. It's more down to the performance between Shatner and Nichols, but even still, there's no denying that Uhura, Kirk, and Star Trek changed both TV and the course of American history forever in "Plato's Stepchildren," and for that we are forever grateful.
What moments did we miss?