Apr 04 2012

Trekkie-in-Chief:Obama and Uhura

By Frederick Sparks

Actress Nichelle Nichols, best known for her role as Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura, recently shared  a picture of her White House visit in February.  She also tweeted this interesting tidbit:  “Months ago Pres Obama was quoted as saying that he’d had a crush on me when he was younger. I asked about that & he proudly confirmed it!”

Nichols spoke previously about meeting Martin Luther King, Jr. during the show’s initial run from 1966-1969.  The civil rights leader told her he was a fan and the two discussed the importance of the image she presented on the show.  Nichols credits this conversation for changing her mind about leaving the show after the first season.

Nichelle, my crush is still intact.



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  1. 1
    Raging Bee

    Months ago Pres Obama was quoted as saying that he’d had a crush on me when he was younger.

    Yeah, him and about ten million other kids in his age group.

    The civil rights leader told her he was a fan and the two discussed the importance of the image she presented on the show.

    …an image the last Star Trek movie totally pissed on by portraying the younger Uhura as a tactless bimbo.

    1. 1.1

      Star Trek 2009 pissed on a lot of concepts central to the original series.

      (How did every one of Kirk’s cohorts graduate in three years?) It also gave me a headache with all that goddamn noise and shining of lamps into the camera for flare effects.

    2. 1.2
      Anthony K

      There are some of us younger whippersnappers still crushing.

    3. 1.3
      Lou Doench

      “younger Uhura as a tactless bimbo.”
      Ummm, you’re welcome to your opinion of course… but If i remember correctly in the new movie Uhura is in a longtime and deep relationship with young Spock. Not canon of course… but the basic plot of the film actually gets around that as well. The movies not perect, but you are way off base there.

  2. 2
    Raging Bee

    How long will it take for Glen Beck and Orly Taitz to use this photo as proof that Obama is an alien trying to impose alien socialist ideas on America? I mean, that modified hippie “peace” sign is just as much a dead giveaway as the “terrorist fist-bump.” Gotta enhance the image to see if his ears were photoshopped…

    1. 2.1

      not to mention Roddenberry was an atheist

    2. 2.2

      I’m sure the tin-foil hatters can tell the Vulcan sign from the peace sign. Actually they probably can’t

      I have no doubt that this will spark some lunatic conspiracy theory about Obama and space aliens. Glenn Beck will totally believe the article about it in World Nut Daily.

  3. 3
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    I love Nichelle Nichols and was always pissed how under-used and under-written her character was. An ignoble tradition they passed down to Zoe Saldana in the new Star Trek movie.

    1. 3.1


      1. Anthony K

        Really? You’ll accept Nemesis as canon, but not the reboot?
        It takes all kinds, I guess.

        1. Chris from Europe

          Giving that the reboot kills the entire canon except for ST: Enterprise, it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

  4. 4
    'Tis Himself

    Nichelle, my crush is still intact.

    Mine too.

  5. 5

    I still remember laughing out loud at a news article from back in 2008 where a reporter was trying to write a feature about how “geeky” Obama was, and how he was telling a joke about “the lithium crystals.”

    Copy editors woulda caught the reporter’s mistake. The lack of same is one of the signs of journamalism’s downfall in this country.

    1. 5.1

      oh brudder…ha ha.

    2. 5.2

      I hate to out-nerd anyone (actually thats one of the biggest lies I’ve ever told, I love it), the enterprise ran on lithium crystals for several episodes, if memory serves they didn’t think of dilithium till halfway through the first series

      1. fredericksparks

        Looks like you win!

        ‘Originally, lithium was said to be used to control the warp reaction, but it was quickly realized that since lithium was a real element, with known properties, it would not be able to do some of the things the writers wanted it to do. (Star Trek Encyclopedia)”

        1. R Johnston

          If only the Voyager writers had remembered that. ?!#$!*&@! deuterium!

  6. 6

    IMHO, the more intelligent and educated a person is, the more likely that person is to be a Star Trek fan. Proof positive that we have the most intelligent President yet!
    From an unabashed fan of both Star Trek and President Obama.

    1. 6.1


    2. 6.2

      While I was in high school, Gene Roddenberry held a talk at the University of Tennessee. He started by showing the Star Trek blooper reel. He then explained that he uses that as an intelligence test on his audience. We all fell silent, for we had laughed and laughed. Roddenberry explained that the more an audience laughs, the more intelligent its members are. The only audience that never laughs at the blooper reel is television executives.

  7. 7
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Nichelle Nichols, who has one of the most awesome voices ever, was also an advocate for women and minorities.

    Maybe she’d like to be president next. I’d vote for her.

    1. 7.1

      Nichols ’16!

    2. 7.2

      Heinlein made her a vice-president in one of his short stories. She succeeded to the presidency on the death of the president and proceeded to kick ass and take down names, starting with members of the Joint Chiefs who underestimated her for being female.

    3. 7.3
      Anthony K

      This is probably not news to anyone here, but she was considering quitting the show until she met MLK and he convinced her she was a role model to black people and women through her character.

      1. fredericksparks

        It certainly shouldn’t be news to anybody who read the post: “The civil rights leader told her he was a fan and the two discussed the importance of the image she presented on the show. Nichols credits this conversation for changing her mind about leaving the show after the first season.”


        1. Anthony K

          Eep. I’m a fool.

          I blame having read the post on my phone. I somehow glossed over that entire paragraph.

      2. Walter

        One of the things I liked best about the early series is that the actors did not (usually) have stereotypical race lines — except for Spock, of course. People forget, but in the 60′s Roddenberry was ahead of his time.

  8. 8

    That’s a really cute picture.

  9. 9
    Michael Swanson

    As a white kid watching Star Trek reruns in the 70s and 80s I had no idea it was a big deal that there a black woman in a non-racially stereotyped role, who, though sorely under used and gender-stereotyped, was fourth in command, and who kissed the white captain. I was either very progressive or profoundly ignorant. Probably some of the former and most of the latter.

    Regardless, I’m still selfishly grateful that her costume was sexist. Those legs!

  10. 10

    Star Trek made a lot of us know that color or race doesn’t matter. Romulans and the Borg are the real danger and humanity must unite!

  11. 11
    Lou Doench

    There’s a great interview by Neil Degrasse Tyson (on his podcast) with Ms. Nochols wherin she explains that she was going to leave the show and Martin Luther King of all people talked her out of it. He explained that she had the most important role on TV for black americans at the time. She wasn’t allowed to quit.

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