On Blaxploitation and Breaking Barriers: The Radical Impact of Nichelle Nichols

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Like with most offshoots of the exploitation style, it may be difficult to reconcile the “exploitation” a part of blaxploitation.  On the one hand: blaxploitation created an explosion of American cinema dominated by, for, and about communities of coloration. However: a lot of the white-helmed studios overseeing blaxploitation cinema had been solely fascinated about making a fast buck, which meant an emphasis on damaging stereotypes.

Nichelle Nichols solely starred in a single blaxploitation movie. After she appeared as a foul-mouthed madam reverse Isaac Hayes in 1974’s Truck Turner, she swore off the style. For Nichols, the promise of blaxploitation — that it might create alternatives for Black filmmakers to inform tales about Black characters that had been multifaceted, human, and sophisticated — wasn’t being fulfilled.

Nichols is aware of a factor or two concerning the significance of on-screen illustration. Earlier than Truck Turner, she was breaking limitations on Star Trek as Lieutenant Uhura, probably the most seen Black girls on tv through the Civil Rights period. Within the interview clip under, Nichols describes her position in Black illustration on-screen, from her transient stint in blaxploitation to her iconic position as Uhura. Nichols additionally describes the time period after Star Trek‘s first season when she thought of quitting the present, and the way Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. satisfied her to remain.

You’ll be able to watch “Nichelle Nichols – On Blaxploitation and Breaking Boundaries” right here:


Who made this?

This unique clip comes courtesy of Reelblack, based in 2007 by NYU and AFI alum Michael J. Dennis (The 13th Modification). Reelblack’s mission is to teach, enlighten, entertain, and empower individuals by way of Black movie. The above clip comes from the press room on the 2008 East Coast Black Age of Comics Conference and options Nichelle Nichols and journalist Raymond Tyler. you possibly can subscribe to Reelback on YouTube here. And you’ll comply with them on Twitter here.

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