AceShowbiz - U.S. President Joe Biden has paid tribute to "trailblazer" Nichelle Nichols. The actress died on Saturday, July 30, aged 89 and the American commander-in-chief believes the country will be "forever indebted" to her "groundbreaking" work as "Star Trek" 's Nyota Uhura, one of the first major Black female characters on TV.
"In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women," Biden said in a statement. "A daughter of a working-class family from Illinois, she first honed her craft as an actor and singer in Chicago before touring the country and the world performing with the likes of Duke Ellington and giving life to the words of James Baldwin."
"During the height of the Civil Rights Movement, she shattered stereotypes to become the first Black woman to act in a major role on a primetime television show with her groundbreaking portrayal of Lt," the statement continued to read. "Uhura in the original 'Star Trek.' With a defining dignity and authority, she helped tell a central story that reimagined scientific pursuits and discoveries."
"And she continued this legacy by going on to work with NASA to empower generations of Americans from every background to reach for the stars and beyond.Our nation is forever indebted to inspiring artists like Nichelle Nichols, who show us a future where unity, dignity, and respect are cornerstones of every society."
U.S. space agency NASA, who Nichelle worked with to help recruit women and people of colour for the space shuttle programme, have also paid tribute to the late star.
"We celebrate the life of Nichelle Nichols, 'Star Trek' actor, trailblazer, and role model, who symbolized to so many what was possible," they said in a statement. "She partnered with us to recruit some of the first women and minority astronauts, and inspired generations to reach for the stars."