Full Disclosure: I have known Jeffrey Morris for over twenty years. In that time, our friendship has gone from tight to contentious to non-existent. We diverge on many social and political issues — we’re like objects that cannot occupy the same space at the same time, without disastrous consequences. But this will not stop me from extolling his absolute genius.
Over the weekend, Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar opened with a $47 million weekend — coming in second place behind Disney’s animated Marvel adventure Big Hero 6 — and ended up being a mixed bag for most viewers and critics, alike. A lot of folks loved it, but there were many more who thought otherwise.
Personally, there were isolated moments that blew my mind, especially when projected on a six story IMAX screen. This is clearly Nolan’s most ambitious project, and I admired his willingness to go big and heady for each scene. Unfortunately, those scenes didn’t add up to a whole, and I found the movie’s last act was emotionally distant (when it wasn’t supposed to be) and rang false and unearned (which is how I feel about the third act of most of Nolan’s movies, actually).
Anyway, there is one nerd whose opinion of Interstellar I was most curious about. Last year, Tyson was responsible for one of the more infamous twitter rants ever when the Oscar-winning Gravity was wowing audiences, Tyson once again took to twitter to share his thoughts on Interstellar.
Black people were marching all over the South. Dr. King was leading people to freedom, and here I was, in the 23rd century, fourth in command of the Enterprise.
Star Trek first aired during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, between the time when Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Supreme Court declared prohibiting interracial marriage unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia.
Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lieutenant Uhura, television’s first major Black female character who wasn’t a maid, did not at first feel the full weight of her role’s significance until after the first season was finished and she handed her resignation to Gene Roddenberry, the show’s creator.
In a 2011 conversation with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Nichols told the incredible story of how one particular fanboy convinced her to stay after all. She gave notice on a Friday, and attended an NAACP fundraiser in Beverly Hills the next day. At the event, someone approached her, saying he had a fan waiting to speak to her.