Nichelle Nichols, who was recently hospitalized after suffering a minor stroke, recently did an AMA (Ask Me Anything) for Reddit. Some of the questions Ms. Nichols answered were common ones she has answered before, such as questions about Martin Luther King and working with Gene Roddenbery, but quite a few were questions I had never heard her answer before. Many people remarked on how gracious and amazing it was for Ms. Nichols to answer as many questions as she did. Here are some of the more interesting questions, answers and information to come out of this AMA:
* Ms. Nichols' responses are in bold.
What are Nichelle's upcoming plans/new projects?
I’m doing something very exciting online. I’m one of the founding celebrities on a new website called StarPower, where stars raise funds for the causes we care about while building closer, long-lasting relationships with our fans. I’m giving away some of my original Star Trek memorabilia, tickets to upcoming events, and doing some exclusive one-on-ones with fans. I even started hosting my own mini-AMA before someone told me I should do it here! What sets StarPower apart from other sites is that it’s a monthly subscription rather than a flash-in-the pan. I know from working with non profits in the past that a constant, reliable revenue source is the dream compared to the booms and busts of traditional fundraising. I’m supporting the Technology Access Foundation and the Planetary Society.
Continuing her advocacy work with NASA, Nichelle will once again be going where very few people have gone before! As she explains:
I am honored to say that I will be among the first non-essential personnel to experience NASA’s newest telescope: SOFIA. On September 15th, I’ll board a special 747 with a very specially built telescope integrated into the fuselage, taking off at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center near Palmdale, California.
SOFIA is actually a second generation Airport Observatory. The first generation was the Keiper Airborne Observatory, flown in the mid 1970’s, which I also had the honor being able to fly on, and even operate the equipment!
I would love to share this event with my fans through live sharing here on StarPower, a special for my VIP fans supporting the great causes that help make these kinds of historical events happen. I'm working with NASA to see what's possible.
Interested in SOFIA? Learn more here:http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sofia/index.html
In the course of answering a question about the role she almost left Star Trek for until MLK asked her to stay (a very famous story Nichelle has told many times)--it was a Broadway role by the way--Nichelle was asked a follow-up question that I will lie awake tonight thinking about the possibilities of:
You guys. We could have had it ALL. Someone please get on this. NOW.
Nichelle was asked about Whoopi Goldberg being cast on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Whoopi being inspired by Nichelle to become an actress is another well-known Star Trek/Nichelle Nichols story, but I personally did not know that Gene Roddenbery consulted with Nichelle when Whoopi wanted to join the cast of TNG: