I think they added the romance, because it is one way to emotionally connect characters with each other.
and also make people (us) relate to the characters more
The S/U romance helped to increase Uhura's screentime, but unfortunately she is also the perfect example of this trope now, which I hate:
I beg to differ. Refer to the meta I previously linked to.
Women of color like Uhura are never the love interest especially for the main white guy so this whole smurfette principle doesn't really fit with Uhura and it kind of sounds like an excuse to go backwards or justify something that, in her case at least, was - actually - a huge flaw for Nichelle's Uhura that the reboot corrected or attempted to correct, it seems.
It just can't get more cliche than to only have one important female character and then to pair her up with one of the male main characters.
it can't be cliché because in Uhura's case being the one important female character (at all
) that also is the love interest of an iconic character is damn progressive as the same character wasn't allowed to be any of that in the 60s
In her case, the cliché and the actual trope for characters like her would be the writers doing the very opposite thing.
Nichelle Nichols: "I decided then from the character that I read [Spock] that I wanted to be very much like that character but in a feminine way. And Gene said, and I was sharing this with George the other day, when I told him that I thought of Spock as my mentor. Because if you remember Uhura was the only one he was able to teach the Vulcan lyre too and he sang and spooffed on Spock. Now, you could have never had a love scene in 63 between Uhura and Spock but there were several hints and [back to Roddenberry] Gene was one in the kind of beginning to follow that and he wanted to do episodes if we had gone past the third year"
It's kinda ironic that now that a pair Roddenberry himself had tried to set up but it was forbidden to do so by the bigotry of the 60s, some people want everything to go backwards and they turn something that actually was a flaw (racism directed at Nichelle and consequently the way her character was developed or not developed) into a quality.
Honestly? Going feminist 101 on nuUhura only now
that she , coincidentally
, happens to be Spock
's love interest is kinda disingenuous to me.
Ultimately, I think it's Spock everyones cares about the most, I doubt the writers would get so much criticism had Uhura been paired with any of the other guys.
So I understand it more when people say that they don't like the pair because they see Uhura as a threat to Spock's vulcan stoicism.
I understand it although I disagree with that as I don't see his character in the same way some people do and to me, by showing this side of his character that was never developed before (because of the biases of the time) actually has the potential to make him even more interesting to me and add more conflict in his character.
But I digress..
Pairing her up with Kirk would have been as cliche. She would still be the only big female character paired up with one of the main male characters. A large part of her screentime was about her being the love interest. That is disappointing when there are no other female characters, who do something cool on a space ship or somewhere else in a future scifi setting.
And what do you mean with "only now"? In TOS were more female characters with Rand and Chapel, despite it being a 60s series and a lot of people at that time rather wished women solely at home as housewives and mothers. The older movies added very prominent female characters like Ilia, Saavik, Carol, Gillian, Valeris. At best Star Trek V didn't bother to do the same. Vixis wasn't a particular important character.
The last Star Trek movie was a step back in this regard, especially compared with the newer Star Trek series and the TNG movies.
It doesn't matter what was going on decades ago. Today Uhura fit perfectly the definition of the Smurfette trope, which was by the way named after a blue skinned character.