Sonequa Martin-Green, the first Black lead actress on a “Star Trek” franchise, is taking the high road when it comes to responding to the racist trolls reacting about her historic role.
“Well, I would encourage them to key into the essence and spirit of ‘Star Trek’ that has made it the legacy it is — and that’s looking across the way to the person sitting in front of you and realizing you are the same, that they are not separate from you, and we are all one,” the “Star Trek: Discovery” star told Entertainment Weekly in a Thursday, June 22, article. “That’s something ‘Star Trek’ has always upheld and I completely believe that is why it’s been a mainstay in society in the hearts of so many people for so many decades.
“I would encourage them to look past their opinions and social conditioning and key into what we’re doing here, which is telling a story about humanity that will hopefully bring us all together,” Martin-Green said. “And it’s hard to understand and appreciate ‘Star Trek’ if you don’t understand and appreciate that. It’s one of the foundational principles of ‘Star Trek’ and I feel if you miss that, then you miss the legacy itself.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” premieres on CBS Sept. 24, and Martin-Green will play First Officer Michael Burnham, who is the focus of the show. The cast also includes Chinese-Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh as Martin-Green’s commanding officer and Anthony Rapp as the first openly gay character in the franchise. Diversity in “Star Trek” isn’t new, however, since the original 1966 series featured a Black woman, a Japanese man and the first interracial kiss on TV. But when the first-look trailer for “Discovery” was revealed in May, racists quickly sounded off on YouTube.
The bigotry hasn’t lessened Martin-Green’s pride in her role on “Star Trek: Discovery,” which will stream on CBS All Access following its premiere.
“I’m incredibly proud to be the lead of this show and be at the forefront of an iteration of ‘Star Trek’ that’s from the eyes of a Black woman that’s never been done before, though obviously there’s been other forms of diversity that have been innovated by ‘Trek,'” she said. “I feel like we’re taking another step forward, which I think all stories should do.
“We should go boldly where nobody has gone before and stay true to that.”