Women of Star Trek Part I

Women of Star Trek Part I

By: Virginia Eader

Hello all you Have You Nerd followers.

I recently had a birthday (Libra’s rule!) and for my birthday my dad gave me a very special gift.

As I carefully unwrapped the first of many similar sized gifts, which were all piled in bag full of tissue paper. I had no idea what was about to unfold before me. One by one I unearthed 8 beautiful plastic figures in their original colorful packaging circa 1990. With all of them strung out across my lap I laughed and said “What the heck, dad?!”  “I got you the entire flight crew,” he said proudly. “And a few others..”

The one I was most excited about? WHOOPI GOLDBERG as Guinan!!

Not on the flight crew, but played a recurring role as the ship’s bartender in several episodes throughout her appearances in seasons 2-6. Guinan is known for providing wise counsel to crew members and was in a very close, trusting relationship with Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

When Whoopi was a little girl, she was a big Star Trek fan, because in the 1960s roles for African-Americans on television were scarce and often inconsequential — with Star Trek being an exception. The presence of Uhura, a character from the original Star Trek, played by actress Nichelle Nichols, connected with the young Goldberg, and her lifelong love of Star Trek had begun.

“Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on,” Goldberg says. “I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”

According to Whoopi, she approached the producers of TNG with her desire to be on the show, due to her childhood admiration. At first they did not think a suitable role for such a highly rated actress could be created, until Goldberg said that she did not care how big or small the role was, even if she just swept the floor in the background. It was from this they decided to give her the role of a bartender. Guinan is named after a prohibition bartender, Texas Guinan.