Sonequa Martin-Green will be playing first officer Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery, and being the lead in this CBS series has its perks. Recently Martin-Green was able to have a short yet heartfelt talk with Star Trek: The Original Series’ Nichelle Nichols about work.
According to TV Guide, Nichols told Martin-Green, “Enjoy this moment. It’s yours now.”
In 1966, Nichols played Uhura, a capable communications officer at a time when roles for African-American women were limited to maids. She shared the first interracial kiss on television with William Shatner. She inspired women who watched the show to attain careers in science.
"The contributions that she's made to our lives and all of our lives," Martin-Green said. "It can't be measured. I was so happy to finally meet her in person. I had been waiting for that since I got the job."
Nichols didn’t just play an officer in Star Trek. She helped NASA recruit minority and women for its space program. She also sits on the board of governors of the National Space Society. She flew with NASA on a high-altitude mission in 2015. At age 82.
Here's hoping Martin-Green’s character doesn’t just carry the torch of competent African-American officers in Starfleet. Here's hoping Martin-Green herself becomes the advocate that Nichols is.