Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
Words like trendsetters or revolutionaries have been overused in the entertainment industry – boiled down to nothing more than hyperbole for slick marketing. Yet, there are individuals like Nichelle Nichols that deserves every ounce of praise and admiration we can shine her way.
At a time when women of color were rarely give much screen time as an actor – and much of that was is subservant roles – there was Uhura on Star Trek. A beautiful, strong black woman in a position of authority.
To highlight this point – I’m going to borrow directly from Wikipedia, because it’s something:
Nichols planned to leave Star Trek in 1967 after its first season, wanting to return to musical theater. She changed her mind after talking to Martin Luther King, Jr. who was a fan of the show. King explained that her character signified a future of greater racial harmony and cooperation. King told Nichols, “You are our image of where we’re going, you’re 300 years from now, and that means that’s where we are and it takes place now. Keep doing what you’re doing, you are our inspiration.” As Nichols recounted, “Star Trek was one of the only shows that [King] and his wife Coretta would allow their little children to watch. And I thanked him and I told him I was leaving the show. All the smile came off his face. And he said, don’t you understand for the first time, we’re seen as we should be seen. You don’t have a black role. You have an equal role.”
Pensacon brings through amazing people each year. Actors, comic book pioneers, characters from the trendiest shows, and beloved figures like Nichols. To further heighten the emotional response of simply being in her presence – Leonard Nimoy passed away mere hours before her planned appearance.
With that, I also want to give my utmost respect to the Pensacon powers that be. They handled an emotional situation with honor and deep consideration for the guests who were a part of Nimoy’s life. It was both a choice that honored Nimoy and let the guests have a positive experience at the convention – to mourn as they needed to on their own terms.
For 2015’s Pensacon we tried our hand at filming quite a few of the celebrity panels. Although the quality isn’t perfect (we promise to do better next year) it still is an honor to hear a laugh like Nichols’.
Thanks to Nick Resler for editing this together for us – it is the first of many that will slowly see the light of day in the coming weeks.