Sonequa Martin-Green talks about her dads' legacies, being first colour of woman in Star Trek franchise
Sonequa Martin-Green is the first woman of colour to ever lead a show of the Star Trek franchise, in the role of Michael Burnham, which instantly places her among a divine pantheon of inspiring cultur
Sonequa Martin-Green is the first woman of colour to ever lead a show of the Star Trek franchise, in the role of Michael Burnham, which instantly places her among a divine pantheon of inspiring cultural figures.
Sonequa has quite a legacy to carry forward – that of Nichelle Nichols’ Lieutenant Uhura of the USS Enterprise, from the original Star Trek TV series of the late-1960s, one of the first powerful African American female characters on TV.
And thus, she steers the Star Trek franchise to strange new worlds, seeking out new life and civilisations. Along the journey, she also carries forward a very personal legacy – that of her father’s.
How does it feel to be the first black female lead in Star Trek history?
It’s hard to put into words, how it feels. It means a lot to me that the franchise has placed the faith in me, at this time right now.
We now get to see so many more women of colour on television and in films. That’s a huge thing for me as well – it’s not just that I’m a black woman, but it’s also that my character is a genius in the arts and sciences and technology.
Were you a big fan of Nichelle Nichols as Uhura?
Oh, my goodness, always... Nichelle Nichols has so much grace and power at the same time – she’s a bundle of great power and kindness, all at once. I’ve learned so much from her, and yes, I was a huge fan when I was growing up. She was one of the only women of colour in that world, whom I saw on TV.
Can you shed light on the masculine name of your character?
Bryan Fuller, who’s the co-creator of the show, he made a stylistic choice, which he has done before, which is to give his female character a male name. When I got my hands on it, I decided that I would be named after my father, who is a Michael Burnham. And I love the idea because to me, it’s a picture of the future – where a girl can possibly be named after her dad or a son named after his mother.