Star Trek Fans Rally to Defend Cosplayer in Hijab
Star Trek, as envisioned by creator Gene Roddenberry, presents a utopian future where the human race coexists peacefully, having accepted both our similarities and our differences. As she said in a tweet, historian and author Blair Imani embraced that vision at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend when she cosplayed as Geordi La Forge; her costume included a hijab.
“I wanted to do an interpretation of a Star Trek design that included me and my culture,” Imani told Today Style. “It all came together really amazingly.” Imani’s costume is absolutely gorgeous, the kind of cosplay that makes you stop in your tracks on the con floor or that gives you heart eyes when you see it posted on Instagram or Twitter. It’s stunning and truly representative of Roddenberry’s vision.
Naturally, there were some trolls, mostly who were insistent that there was no place for religion in Roddenberry’s world—a convenient mask for their hate.
But for the most part, the Star Trek community has embraced Imani’s cosplay, sending her love and shutting down the haters. Imani also told Today, “The really cool thing was that some people who were being extremely rude were totally shut down by legions of Star Trek fans. Star Trek fans, we’re seen as being very cerebral and very nerdy, and when we can use that nerdiness for social justice, it’s super cool.”
One such message of support came from LeVar Burton, who played La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Imani also received support from actor Wil Wheaton.
Towards the end of her Today interview, she said, “I think that would really great right now, at a time when people are being told to go back to their countries of origin when they perfectly well belong in the country they live in, I think it would be really revolutionary for Star Trek to take a stand and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to continue to be on the front lines of progress, and we’re going to say, hey, Muslims exist in the future.”
And she’s right. Star Trek has boldly gone where few have gone before when it comes to representation. By having a Muslim hero in the future, the current Star Trek producers would be making a powerful statement.
That’s truly what Trek is about. Star Trek is about a future in which humanity has achieved their best selves. The representation in the shows matters because, oftentimes, Trek broke new ground in inclusion. Having a Muslim hero in a hijab, saving the day with Starfleet, would be a powerful political statement. It could inspire lives in our world, where we haven’t quite reached those utopian ideals just yet.
In our world, Imani has no intention of stopping her cosplay plans. Given that she’s carrying the torch for Roddenberry’s ideals, I’ve both ordered her book and also cannot wait to see what she does next.
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