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In Light Of Last Night's Steamy 'Scandal' Sex Scenes, Revisiting TV's 1st Interracial Kiss Between A White Man & A Black Woman

Shadow and Act By Courtney | Shadow and Act December 7, 2012 at 11:05AM

In light of last night's steamy episode of Scandal, as we saw Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope and Tony Goldwyn as Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant heated up our TV screens with one or two scenes that made some of us wonder how they got past network TV censors, and also because it's Friday, I thought I'd take us back about 44 years, to the November 22, 1968 Star Trek episode titled Plato's Stepchildren, which is popularly-cited as the first example of a scripted kiss between a white man and black woman on American television (between Kirk and Uhura).
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Plato's CHildren

In light of last night's steamy episode of Scandal, as we saw Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope and Tony Goldwyn as Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant heated up our TV screens with one or two scenes that made some of us wonder how they got past network TV censors, and also because it's Friday, I thought I'd take us back about 44 years, to the November 22, 1968 Star Trek episode titled Plato's Stepchildren, which is popularly-cited as the first example of a scripted kiss between a white man and black woman on American television (between Kirk and Uhura).

I couldn't help but make connections between the two, as I wondered just how far TV (and this country) has come (even though we still have a very long way to go, in terms of race-relations, and what is *acceptable* TV these days, and maybe even banal, compared to 1968, when the now-history-making Star Trek episode aired).

Although I'm sure there were people on both sides of the aisle (white and black) who watched last night's episode and cringed at the site of what we could say were unusual (for network TV) sex scenes between a white man and a black woman. That is if they even watch the show; the thought of an interracial romance likely turned them off from the start. 

And let's not even get into the reverse, as in, imagine if this were between a black man and a white woman. Would that even make it on screen? Is America (or maybe more specifically, Hollywood) more tolerant of interracial romance between white men and women of color (not just black women), than they are of interracial romance between men of color (not just black men) and white women? What we see on screen tells the tale. But you guys can discuss.

However, what I really wanted to draw your attention to was this 10-minute long video in which Nichelle Nichols talks at length about shooting that now famous kissing scene with William Shatner. I actually wasn't aware of all that she says in the video in terms of just how it all went down, the director's interference, Shatner's insistence, and Nichols' frustrations. 

It's definitely worth watching and listening to if you're not alreay familiar with it all.

But first, here's the sequence with the kiss; and underneath you'll find Nichelle Nichols' recounting of the set when the scene was shot:

This article is related to: Television, TV Features


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