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Friday, January 29, 2021

Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA - Documentary Review


The Documentary: Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA

The Director: Todd Thompson

The Story: Nichelle Nichols' daunting task to launch a national blitz for NASA, recruiting 8,000 of the nation's best and brightest, including the trailblazing astronauts who became the first African American, Asian and Latino men and women to fly in space.


The Review:
I've always believed Nichelle Nichols to be an amazing woman just on the strength of her Star Trek character Lieutenant Uhura which was as revolutionary as it was legendary and then this documentary comes along and raises her up to yet another level of legendary status within American history. The documentary features a woven tapestry of interviews with Ms. Nichols and many others that cover all the decades of her amazing life and career including some wonderful insight into how she got the part on Star Trek and of course, the immensely influential impact she had on NASA's space program.

Seeing Ms. Nichols at different points of her life through these interviews and video clips is a really fun way to get to know her and director Todd Thompson treats all of it with the utmost respect while also creating a very entertaining narrative from beginning to end. I had always heard the story of when she met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what he had said to her about her Star trek character but seeing it play out in retelling by the people who were there was just a fascinating thing to see and that's pretty much the entire documentary. You really get to know the human being that Ms. Nichols is by the stories told by her and by the people who were closest to her and the one thing that clearly shines through is her passion and dedication to civil rights and giving black people opportunities.

Given the world we live in now, it's amazing to me that Nichelle Nichols' story has not been more at the forefront of American history let alone black history and NASA's history although I also understand the world we live in and why a woman such as herself wouldn't be given her just do. I mean, it was only a couple years ago that we learned of amazing black women like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson who were featured in Hidden Figures, a movie about how these women made an impact on NASA during their time. It is well past time that black people, and especially black women, are given proper credit for their contributions to a country and a culture that quite frankly has either ignored them or outright rejected them from the history books.

Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA shows us how this amazing human being was able to go where no woman has gone before while creating opportunities for herself and for so many other people. Her impact will be felt around the world for the rest of time and this film is a wonderful documentation of her legacy.


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