'Star Trek' Fan at Comic-Con Adds a Hijab to Her Starfleet Costume - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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'Star Trek' Fan at Comic-Con Adds a Hijab to Her Starfleet Costume

"It’s just exciting to think of a future that includes everybody"

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    'Star Trek' Fan at Comic-Con Adds a Hijab to Her Starfleet Costume
    Courtesy of Kaelan Barowsky
    "The really cool thing was that some people who were being extremely rude were totally shut down by legions of Star Trek fans," Blair Imani told TODAY.

    She's boldly going where few have gone before!

    A "Star Trek" fan went viral on Twitter after she posted photos of her Starfleet uniform costume that included a hijab.

    Blair Imani, 25, has been a "Star Trek" fan for ages, and when she attended San Diego's Comic-Con this month, she wanted to celebrate her love for the sci-fi series while still wearing an outfit that aligned with her Muslim faith.

    She’s a huge fan of LeVar Burton, who played Geordi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” so she commissioned this incredible version of his uniform from the show. 

    “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, a historian who lives in Los Angeles, already had a special connection to LeVar Burton. He shouted her out on social media in 2017 and helped her publish her first book, “Modern HERstory.”

    “I’ve been thinking for a long time about how to pay homage to him and how to really thank him,” Imani said. “But beyond that, I’ve been a big fan of 'Star Trek' for a long time. Just the messages of diversity really speak to me and I think to a lot of other folks.” 

    "People were saying, ‘Wow, this is amazing, this is exactly what would be in Star Trek!'" Imani said.
    Photo credit: Courtesy of Kaelan Barowsky

    It’s true that "Star Trek" has long been a pioneer when it comes to celebrating diversity on screen. In 1968, it was one of the first TV shows to broadcast an interracial kiss, and it went against the grain when it added a Russian character to the crew during the height of the Cold War.

    For Imani, her costume fits perfectly into the show’s vision of an inclusive future. 

    “It’s just exciting to think of a future that includes everybody, which includes Muslims,” she said.

    Her photos went viral soon after she posted them, and many "Star Trek" fans were obsessed with her unique take on the classic Starfleet uniform.

    “Genius how you incorporated the visor into the uniform and how you modified it to make it your own!” one fan wrote on Twitter.

    Imani says she also received messages of support from Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher in “The Next Generation,” and Brent Spiner, who played Data.

    LeVar Burton himself loved her look.

    “Best cosplay of Geordi, EVER,” he wrote on Twitter. “Thank you, little Sister, you honor not only me, but all the kids out there who saw LaForge as a hero.” 

    Unfortunately, the reactions weren’t all positive. Some fans argued that Muslims don’t have a place in the "Star Trek" universe. 

    “There are no Muslims in Starfleet or in the Federation,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

    “Even though well executed, I’d hope we’d be beyond religious garb and symbolism in the future,” another tweeted.

    Other fans rushed to Imani’s defense, pointing out that "Star Trek" often depicts religions and religious characters, citing specific examples from "Star Trek" episodes. 

    “The really cool thing was that some people who were being extremely rude were totally shut down by legions of 'Star Trek' fans,” Imani told TODAY. “'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.” 

    Imani’s costume was so convincing that she said many people thought she was actually an actor in the latest series in the franchise, “Star Trek: Discovery.”

    She hopes that one day this will be a reality, and that fans will actually see a hijab-wearing character on the show.

    “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,” she said. “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 with the new “Star Trek: Picard” show in production, who knows — maybe she could be that trailblazer.

    “They’re filming on the West Coast and I’m on the West Coast too,” she said. “I’ve thrown my hijab into the ring!” 

    “But even if that’s not what comes of it,” she added, “I’m still really excited to be among a group of fans that are supportive instead of tearing each other down.”

    This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: