Star Trek: Discovery‘s Sonequa Martin-Green has voyaged to where no other black woman has gone before: she’s the first black woman to lead the iconic sci-fi series in its nearly 53-year history.
As Martin-Green relishes in her history-making role as Commander Michael Burnham, the actress tells Essence she’s also thinking about its impact and what that means for the next generation.
“I certainly see more doors opening for black women and people of color…And of course, I celebrate it,” she says. “But I also have a healthy yearning for more. The way to continue opening these doors is by continuing to do what we’re doing: telling these varied, interesting, compelling, ugly, beautiful, human stories.”
Martin-Green continues, “We need for people who look like us to tell them, because otherwise we[’ll] continue to see ourselves through other people who are different from us. So I appreciate our writers and producers for standing by this vision to have a black woman at the helm. I’m so very humbled by it and innovated by it. I just hope that this keeps spreading. I think it will.”
Of course, making history at work also hits close to home. Martin-Green says she’s also considering what this means to her son, Kenric II, whom she shares with her husband, actor Kenric Green.
“There’s misogyny and racism everywhere. My husband and I can’t help what our son comes across. But we present him with images and messaging that will at least negate what he sees,” Martin-Green explains. “That’s why I thank God for this role because it is something I can point to and say, ‘Hey, look at this. It’s Mommy, but it’s also a black woman saving the world and being a genius.”
Star Trek: Discovery airs on CBS All Access.
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