Kirk & Uhura’s Kiss Wasn’t First Interracial Kiss on TV

On November 22, 1968, Captain James T. Kirk and Lieutenant Nyota Uhura locked lips for the primary, and solely time. Though “Star Trek: The Original Series” was all the time comparatively progressive, the kiss between co-stars William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols was the boldest selection the show had ever made.

“Star Trek’s” most well-known kiss is commonly known as the primary interracial kiss proven on tv. However, this is not precisely true. Though the kiss was definitely historic, it was not the primary. It wasn’t even the primary interracial kiss on “Star Trek.”

The History of Interracial Liplocking on TV

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The first interracial kiss on tv occurred practically a decade earlier than Kirk and Uhura’s.

According to the e-book “Fade to Black and White: Interracial Images in Popular Culture,” the primary interracial couple on tv was Ricky and Lucy from “I Love Lucy.” The characters had been performed by real-life husband and spouse Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Ball was white and Arnaz was Cuban-American. The couple kissed a number of instances on the show, which ran from 1951 to 1957. However, Arnaz was white-passing, so their kisses weren’t seen as interracial by most people.

In 1959, the motion sequence “Sea Hunt” featured an interracial kiss. The second-season episode “Proof of Guilt” featured Japanese-Canadian actress Nobu McCarthy. At the tip of the episode, McCarthy’s character planted a giant kiss on the principle character, Mike, performed by Lloyd Bridges. Though McCarthy was clearly Japanese, the kiss was not given the identical historic significance as Kirk and Uhura’s.

A yr later in 1960, an episode of “Adventures in Paradise” featured one other kiss between a white man and an Asian lady. In “Big Surf,” the show’s lead actor, Gardner McKay, kissed Filipina actress Pilar Seurat.

“Star Trek’s” precise first interracial kiss occurred in 1967. In the primary season episode, “Space Seed,” Mexican celebrity Ricardo Montalban kissed white actress Madlyn Rhue. Montalban was a darker-skinned Hispanic man, however he was nonetheless thought-about white by most people.

Hispanic is technically a special ethnic id, not a racial id. However, the Pew Research Center discovered that many Hispanic folks self-identify their racial id as Hispanic. Because of this ambiguity round race and ethnicity, particularly within the 50s, the general public notion of a Hispanic particular person kissing a white particular person was not that it was an interracial kiss.

Later in 1967, the primary televised kiss between a Black particular person and a white particular person occurred throughout Nancy Sinatra’s tv particular “Movin’ With Nancy.” Sinatra carried out with leisure icon, Sammy Davis Jr. At the tip of their efficiency, they exchanged a fast peck on the cheek.

Why the Kirk/Uhura Kiss Was Still so Important

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So, Kirk and Uhura’s kiss was removed from the primary interracial kiss on tv. Technically, it wasn’t even the primary kiss between a Black particular person and a white particular person on tv.

However, Kirk and Uhura’s kiss was the primary lip-lock between a white particular person and a Black particular person on tv. That’s why it obtained a lot consideration and went down in historical past as the primary interracial kiss on tv.

“Plato’s Stepchildren” aired about three years after one of the violent years of the Civil Rights Movement, in keeping with 1965 noticed each the assassination of Malcolm X and Bloody Sunday, the day when police brutally attacked protesters marching from Selma to Montgomery to marketing campaign for Black voting rights. The episode aired simply months after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. The Civil Rights motion was on the minds of each American.

“Star Trek’s” creator, Gene Roddenberry, noticed the show as a possibility to deal with the sociopolitical problems with the time, as Time Magazine identified of their profile of him. He believed that by placing these points right into a futuristic setting, he might discover them in ways in which different media on the time couldn’t. The allegories included in “The Original Series” are evident all through the show. However, none is extra evident than Kirk and Uhura’s kiss.

As tv critic Eric Deggans advised The Associated Press, through NBC News, the kiss “instructed that there was a future the place these points weren’t such a giant deal.” He identified that not one of the characters within the scene, human or alien, appeared to care {that a} white man was kissing a Black lady.

The kiss promised that sooner or later, humankind would have moved previous racism. This was a radical message in the course of the bloody battle that was the Civil Rights Movement. Though it wasn’t the primary interracial kiss on tv, Kirk and Uhura’s kiss definitely was a historic second, rife with which means and hope.

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