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Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at 89

Roddenberry’s decision to cast Nichols, an African American woman, as major character on Star Trek was an almost unheard-of move in 1966

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Screenshot/YouTube The Smithsonian Channel

SILVER CITY, Nm. – She was a groundbreaking cultural icon who broke barriers in a time of societal upheaval and battling for the civil rights of Black Americans. An actress, a mother, and thoroughly devoted to the legions of fans of Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Nyota Uhura, has died at 89.

The announcement on her Facebook page by her son read:

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World

I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years.

Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.

Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all.

I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further. Her services will be for family members and the closest of her friends and we request that her and our privacy be respected.

Live Long and Prosper,

Kyle Johnson

Nichols was born in Robbins, Illinois, in 1932, according to her IMDb page. Legendary composer Duke Ellington “discovered” Nichols and helped her become a singer and dancer. She later turned to acting, and joined Gene Roddenberry’s “Star Trek,” where she played Lt. Uhura from 1966 to 1969.

Out actor George Takei who played ‘Sulu’ on Star Trek the original series with Nichols who played Lt. Uhura, at a Star Trek convention in this undated photo. (George Takei/Twitter)

It was in that role of Nyota Uhura that Nichols not only broke barriers between races, most famously her onscreen kiss the first between a Black person and a White person, with castmate William Shatner who played Captain James T. Kirk, but she also became a role model for young Black women and men inspiring them to seek out their own places in science, technology, and other human endeavors.

In numerous interviews over the years Nichols often recalled how the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a fan of the show and praised her role and personally encouraged her to stay with the series.

When the first series ended Nichols went on to become a spokesperson for NASA, where she “helped recruit and inspire a new generation of fearless astronauts.”  She later reprised her role in several successful Star Trek films and continued to advocate for the advancement of Black Americans especially in the areas of science and technology.

Formerly a NASA deputy administrator, Frederick Gregory, now 81, told the Associated Press he once saw an advertisement in which Nichols said “I want you to apply for the NASA program.”

“She was talking to me,” he recounted. The U.S. Air Force pilot would apply and later become the first African American shuttle pilot.

President Joe Biden weighed in Sunday afternoon on her passing in a statement issued by the White House:

In Nichelle Nichols, our nation has lost a trailblazer of stage and screen who redefined what is possible for Black Americans and women.
 
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. 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.

Nichols son said that services will be private for family members and her closest friends.

In 2008 the actress at a news conference, coordinated by the filmmakers of the motion picture TRU LOVED, in honor of the more than 900 students at LAUSD’s Miguel Contreras Learning Complex’s School of Social Justice who participated in the LGBTQ+ National Day of Silence.

TRU LOVED Star Nichelle Nichols Speaks on LGBT Civil Rights:

Her fellow castmate and life long friend, openly Out actor George Takei shared his sadness on hearing of Nichol’s passing on Twitter:

From the September 2016 edition of the Smithsonian Channel: “Star Trek’s decision to cast Nichelle Nichols, an African American woman, as major character on the show was an almost unheard-of move in 1966. But for black women all over the country, it redefined the notions of what was possible.”

Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols on Uhura’s Radical Impact:

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David Archuleta tells Jennifer Hudson his experience of coming out

Archuleta opens up to his fellow “American Idol” alum about his experience growing up in the Mormon religious faith & his journey

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Screenshot/YouTube The Jennifer Hudson Show

BURBANK, Ca. – In a recent episode of the Jennifer Hudson show, David Archuleta opens up to his fellow “American Idol” alum about his experience growing up in the Mormon religious faith and his journey to coming out.

The 31-year-old-old singer tells JHud how he almost got married several times to different females and shares how he’s learning to love himself.

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“I just want the applause of my children saying I’m a good Dad…”

Sir Elton John, gearing up for his final show in the United States at Dodger Stadium, speaks with GMA anchor Robin Roberts

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Sir Elton John holds up a family photograph during an interview with GMA's Robin Roberts (Screenshot/YouTube GMA)

LOS ANGELES – This Sunday after his first memorable concert stage appearance in a sequin LA Dodger’s uniform-costume, Sir Elton John returns to end the North American leg of his global farewell tour at Dodger Stadium coming full circle fifty years later.

The 75-year-old entertainer in a recent interview with ABC News Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts says that after five decades on the stage, he’s looking forward to spending more time with family.

The dichotomy of Roberts, the first woman of color and first openly LGBTQ woman to anchor a prestigious television network morning show and the singer-musician, who is openly gay and married with two sons against that time period five decades ago in both of their lives and the society then versus now is stark.

Johns’ last concert at Dodger Stadium, which will also be live streamed on Disney+, marks a new beginning he tells Roberts. His focus now is on his sons Zachary, 11, and Elijah, nine, along with his husband David Furnish.

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Out voice actor Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman has died

Conroy was able to use his theater background to manifest one of the most memorable voices in cartoon history

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Screenshot/YouTube

NEW YORK – Kevin Conroy had been the voice of (animated) Batman for nearly three decades, voicing almost every iteration of Batman in cartoons, animated movies or video games. In recent years he was a fan favorite on the Con circuit.

Conroy died Thursday after a short battle with cancer, his representative confirmed. He was 66.

Learning of his passage, actor Mark Hamill, known as the voice of the Joker appearing oft times opposite Conroy, released a statement saying:

“Kevin was perfection. He was one of my favorite people on the planet, and I loved him like a brother. He truly cared for the people around him – his decency shone through everything he did. Every time I saw him or spoke with him, my spirits were elevated.”

Conroy began his career as a theater actor, attending Julliard, a prestigious acting school in New York City. He studied alongside heavyweights Robin Williams, Kelsey Grammer and more.

Conroy would go on to perform on Broadway and off-Broadway when his agent called him about auditioning for the role of Batman in a new animated show. During the audition he was able to use his theater background to manifest one of the most memorable voices in cartoon history.

Conroy is survived by his husband Vaughn C. Williams, his sister Trisha Conroy, and his brother Tom Conroy.

Memorial services are pending.

In August of 2020, ‘Great Big Story’ on its YouTube channel profiled Conroy titled: Meet the Voice of Batman.

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Singer-Rapper Aaron Carter found dead at home Saturday morning

Representatives for Carter’s family confirmed the singer’s death but did not provide any immediate further comment

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Aaron Carter/Twitter

LANCASTER, Ca. – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of singer-rapper Aaron Carter, 34, who was found unresponsive in his home.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and EMS from L.A. County Fire Department’s Fire station 129, responded to the Carter residence at 42502 Valley Vista Drive Saturday morning at approximately 11:00 a.m.

According to LASD spokesperson Deputy Alejandra Parra, the person making the 911 call, later identified as the house sitter, stated “she found a male unresponsive in the bath tub.” She was advised by the dispatcher to begin cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to the deputies arrival. 

Shortly after the deputies arrived, LACD Fire department EMS personnel arrived and pronounced the male (Carter) deceased at the scene. Representatives for Carter’s family confirmed the singer’s death but did not provide any immediate further comment.

“We are still in the process of accepting this unfortunate reality,” Carter’s fiancé, Melanie Martin said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated.”

The singer’s publicist released a statement noting: “The family has been notified and will be flying out to Los Angeles. Aaron worked very hard towards the end of his life in recovery, to be a good father and to make amends with his family.”

The singer-rapper rose to fame as an adolescent star singing and acting. Carter, the younger brother of the Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter was an actor in film and television shows like “Lizzie McGuire” and “7th Heaven.”

He opened for the Backstreet Boys on a 1997 tour, according to The Hollywood Reporter, and he did the same for Britney Spears, according to The Associated Press.

Carter is perhaps most well known, however, for his sophomore album “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It),” which was released in 2000 and has been certified triple platinum, KTLA reported.

It included the title track as its first single, as well as a cover of “I Want Candy” and a basketball-themed song “That’s How I Beat Shaq.” The parody song features an accompanying video with NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal in which the Hall of Famer loses a game of pickup to the scrawny preteen.

The teenage Carter was seen as a heartthrob who had several high-profile romances, including with fellow child stars Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff. In 2019, he publicly came out as bisexual, although he admitted he had only dated women.

Following his initial twitter post Carter appeared on an episode of The Doctors, during which he confirmed he was bisexual, and that he would be open to dating a man if one “comes into my life and sparks an interest.”

He later appeared to have partially walked back his coming Out as bisexual saying his remarks were misconstrued.

In a podcast for Hollywood Life, Carter was asked if he would ever date a man. The 30-year-old singer said no.

“It was more so just a story that happened when I was like 17 with somebody. And I can find men and women attractive, but when it comes down to it, I think it was a little misconstrued,” Carter said. “I see myself being with a woman and having kids. I want to have a family.”

“I keep telling people that. I don’t want it to be misconstrued too much just because I was open about a story,” he added.

He later seemed to reconsider claiming that he was ready to embrace his bisexuality and would be open to dating a man if one caught his interest. He also had plans to include his bisexuality in his upcoming music.

KTLA reported that the singer also had publicly battled addiction for many years, facing legal troubles and entering rehabilitation while continuing with his music career, according to E!.

In September of this year, he entered rehab for the fifth time so he could regain custody of his infant son, Prince, according to the Los Angeles Times.

He also publicly feuded with many, including his brother Nick, whom he accused of trying to put him under a conservatorship.

In 2019, he revealed on “The Doctors” that he was diagnosed with “multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, acute anxiety and manic depression,” according to CNN.

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Star of Netflix’s ‘Heartstopper’ forced to come out as bisexual

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch & then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities based on stereotypes”

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Kit Connor (Nick Nelson) with co-star Joe Locke (Charlie Spring) in See-Saw film's Heartstopper (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

LONDON – The runaway Netflix-See Saw Films series Heartstopper made Kit Connor a star, but the 18-year-old actor is accusing Twitter trolls of making him come out as bisexual before he was ready. 

Connor broke a self-imposed hiatus from Twitter on Monday with a short tweet declaring he’s bi, and pointing a finger at all those who put pressure on him to reveal his orientation; 

“back for a minute. i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. bye”

Since Monday, Connor’s tweet has been liked more than 980K times, and PinkNewsUK reports there’s been an outpouring of support, starting with the author of the series the Netflix show is based upon. 

“I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes,” Alice Oseman tweeted. “I hope all those people are embarrassed as FUCK. Kit you are amazing.”

A fan responded with a screengrab from Oseman’s comic about coming out, which says: “You don’t have to do anything until you’re ready,” to back her up. “Not sure the trolls can actually be called fans,” said Wispa in their tweet.

Another fan tweeted: “i cannot believe that some of you are so insufferable that you watched a show about positive identity and forced kit connor to go through the exact thing that his character was terrified of.”

Connor announced he was leaving Twitter in September after a video was shared that showed him holding hands with actress Maia Reficco. He had previously refused to accept any label for his sexuality, including with a May 2022 tweet that said people on social media “know my sexuality better than I do.” 

But with accusations of queerbaiting flying about, Connor apparently felt pressured to clear the air. 

Since coming out on Monday, Connor has again gone silent on Twitter, but PinkNewsUK reported some prominent voices have filled the vacuum. 

“No actor should be forced into this position,” tweeted writer Mark Harris. “When it’s done by a fandom that pretends to righteousness about whether someone should be allowed to play a role or talk in certain terms, it is no less toxic.”

SkyNews Journalist David Chipakupaku told PinkNews “this isn’t a cause of celebration, just very sad.” He felt Connor’s coming out was “deeply upsetting” because of the “constant internet speculation and accusations of queerbaiting.” 

“Some of you didn’t take any lessons despite profession a love for this show,” he added.

Nadia Whittome, the youngest member of British parliament who is also queer and a woman of color, also tweeted her support, saying: “Being forced to come out is being outed and it’s disgusting. I’m sorry you’ve been put through that. Sending you so much love and solidarity, Kit.”

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Adidas ends partnership with ‘Ye’ over rapper’s antisemitism

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments & actions have been unacceptable”

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Kanye West (Screenshot/YouTube NBC News Today)

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany – German sportswear company Adidas announced Tuesday that it has ended its partnership with disgraced rapper Kanye West, now referred to as ‘Ye’ for his recent antisemitic comments.

“After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies,” Adidas said in a statement.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Problems in the business relationship between the rapper and the sportswear company were already tenuous. Adidas had publicly announced it was evaluating its relationship with West earlier this month after West, in the company of far-right talk show host Candace Owens, were seen wearing T-shirts that read; “White Lives Matter” during a Paris Fashion Week event where he was promoting his Yeezy branded Adidas products.

When the company announced it was reviewing its relationship over that incident the rapper exploded with a profane rant on Insta directed at the company and then he added more fuel to the controversy posting: “EVERYONE KNOWS THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER WAS A SCAM NOW ITS OVER YOU’RE WELCOME.”

Then after his antisemitic comments that prompted the most recent uproar over this past weekend, the rapper was locked out of his Instagram and Twitter accounts.

In West’s recent appearance on the Drink Champs Podcast, he blamed “Jewish Zionists” for the reports that his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her then-boyfriend Pete Davidson had sexual intercourse next to a fireplace, claimed that “Jewish people have owned the black voice,” and described Disney as a Jewish platform.

In the same Drink Champs podcast, which was removed from Youtube, West also claimed that Jewish people “came into money through the lawyers” divorcing Christians because Catholics refused to do so.

Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, released a statement mildly critical of the sportswear giant for not dropping the rapper sooner.

“I would have liked a clear stance earlier from a German company that also was entangled with the Nazi regime,” Schuster said. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, is one of those companies that conduct big campaigns against antisemitism and racism. That’s why an earlier separation from Kanye West would have been appropriate.”

Yesterday mega-talent agency CAA announced that it had dropped West as a client.

Adidas Cuts Ties With Kanye West Over Antisemitic Remarks:

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