Zoe Saldaña took to Instagram to mourn the passing of Star Trek‘s Lt. Nyota Uhura, Nichelle Nichols, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 89.
Saldaña succeeded Nichols in the role of the Starfleet linguist and communications officer in three reboot films, with a fourth on the way.
“Nichelle made me feel safe, told me to play her with all the confidence in the world,” the Guardians of the Galaxy series star noted, calling Nichols “a unique artist who was ahead of her time always.”
“My hope is that we continue to keep her memory alive by celebrating her amazing body of work, and by spreading the message of peace and equality amongst all people,”Saldaña continued. “She lived a long, impactful life and not only prospered, but helped so many others prosper too.”
The actress also noted Nichols’ work with NASA in recruiting and inspiring future generations of real-life space travelers of color. “I mean, she inspired Mae Jemison to follow her dreams of becoming an astronaut and that’s exactly what Mae did,” Saldaña said.
Paraphrasing Maya Angelou, Saldaña closed by saying of Nichols, “It’ll be hard to forget what she said and hard to forget what she did, and it will certainly be impossible to forget how she made us feel.”
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