Women are rarely prominent in science fiction, although when they’re given a chance to shine, they can end up stealing the show. The same can certainly be said of Black women, who have had even fewer chances to leave their mark on the genre.

Black women have been relegated to the sidelines over and over (or ignored entirely) when it comes to the world of science fiction, often typecast or pigeonholed into racially insensitive roles of slaves, maids, or other unsavory individuals – if they’re cast at all. While there are few women assigned to prominent roles in the world of science fiction, there are even fewer Black women written into TV shows and films that explore the outer reaches of space, other dimensions, or the weird happenings that take place in our own realm.

Luckily, over the past few decades, this has slowly been changing for the better. The representation of Black women throughout the realm of science fiction is far from perfect at present, but there have been several influential Black women at the forefront of the genre who have pushed it forward in their own unique ways. These are just a handful of the actresses who have helped ensure the representation of Black women in sci-fi and fantasy has progressed over the years.

 

“Star Trek” Leads the Charge

When speaking of Black women in the world of sci-fi, you must always give one of the most popular series of all time credit for creating a legendary Black character: “Star Trek“. In fact, the franchise continues to do so, continuing the legacy it began years ago when the show first cast actress Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura on the original “Star Trek” series in 1966.