Talking to a friend earlier this week and he was relaying details from his recent interview with Uhura…yeah Star Trek. He bombarded the poor senior citizen…she’s in her 80s for sure…with all kinds of Star Trek questions as part of the documentary he’s working on. There’s a lot to discuss with her and Star Trek; granted but I was curious if he asked about her real life experiences pimping space and NASA.
A black person in space on a tv show…sure whatever: it’s fiction; s’little to do with reality. There’s a stunning Deep Space Nine episode Far Beyond the Stars that acknowledges all of these themes. S’about 1950s pulp sci-fi writers dreaming up well Star Trek. One editor says to black writer: “Sorry, Benny, I wish things were different, but they’re not.” To which the black writer wisely responds: “Wishing never changed a damn thing.”
Uhura understood this and recruited all kinds of people to become astronauts and to join NASA and to explore space.
When she kicks off her obit will be all Star Trek for true but this is her real legacy. You only affect change when you effect lives. The timing of that conversation with this new doc…
Today on Netflix Mercury 13 drops: a documentary on female astronauts who never made it to space. If you’re looking for something to watch this weekend until Strange Things 3.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair podcast: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.