Whoopi Goldberg Pays Tribute to Fellow Star Trek Alum Nichelle Nichols

The passing of Nichelle Nichols has left many in mourning, and along with fans across the world, this includes many of her friends and fellow Star Trek community members. When Nichols was starring as Lieutenant Uhura in the original Star Trek series, she was helping to pave the way for the future as one of the first Black women to be featured in a major role in a television series. Many of today’s working women in show business have personally credited Nichols for giving them inspiration.

This includes Whoopi Goldberg who would also join the franchise with her role as Guinan in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Speaking about Nichols’ passing on The View (via THR), Goldberg commented on how Nichols had served as an inspiration for “millions and millions” of people. Goldberg had personally wanted to pursue acting ever since she saw Nichols on television.

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“Nichelle was the first Black person I’d ever seen who made it to the future. She was head of communications. This show and this woman was a beacon that said yes we’ll be there. And it just made me feel like that was an amazing thing and she helped propel other women to go into space.”

In later years, Goldberg had gotten to know Nichols and the two became friends. That only has Goldberg feeling the pain of the loss that much more.

“I was lucky enough to spend time with her over the years. She was my friend and she’ll be missed.”

Nichelle Nichols Was an Inspiration for Many

Star Trek Discovery star Sonequa Martin-Green had also been there personally to honor Nichelle Nichols at her final Comic-Con appearance in December. Martin-Green praised Nichols for opening the door for others, saying that it was the groundwork Nichols had laid that is what made Martin-Green’s starring role in a Star Trek series possible.

“Nichelle’s legacy can be described as that of sacrificial, heroic contribution. She decided to stay, and ultimately devoted her entire self to the progression of Black people, people of color and women. And she gave everything. She gave her time, her energy. She gave her intelligence, her wisdom, her leadership, and her heart for the betterment of the world and the future. I am only here because of her. I also owe it to Nichelle to continue her legacy of heroism through sacrifice. And that is what she has taught me. That is how her words have been reverberating in my heart here lately, is making that choice to step away from self-interest, and instead devote yourself to the interests of others.”

It is very clear that Nichols made an impact on pop culture as a whole in addition to her important role as Uhura in Star Trek. The legendary actress may no longer be with us, but given her contributions and unforgettable performances in the franchise, we can be sure that she will not be forgotten. Rest in peace, Nichelle Nichols.