20 legendary Black science fiction actors who rocked the genre

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Sonequa Martin-Green

She might be the most recent Black actor to step into the sci-fi genre in a major way, but don’t let her relative newbie status convince you that Sonequa Martin-Green is any sort of lightweight. You don’t get to helm an entire Star Trek series if you’re not up to the job, you know.

Martin-Green is definitely up to the task, since she’s hardly a newbie actor. You may have seen her as Sasha Williams on the very popular The Walking Dead series, for one. Or, you may recognize her from a number of recurring roles on shows such as The Good Wife, Once Upon a Time, and New Girl.

She’s risen to prominence as a science fiction actress thanks to the web television series Star Trek: Discovery. Martin-Green helms the show as Michael Burnham, a rising officer in Starfleet. She starts off as the First Officer of the USS Shenzhou, under the command of Captain Philippa Georgiou. Burnham and Georgiou have a close relationship which, without spoiling too much of the series, crumbles dramatically in the first episode.

Burnham finds herself in a very bad place at the beginning of the series, having fallen far indeed from her post as First Officer. She eventually returns with another crew, though they are naturally suspicious of her purpose on a new ship. It doesn’t help that Burnham, a human, was raised by the Vulcan Sarek, also the dad of fan favorite Mr. Spock.

Burnham was raised as a Vulcan and even attended the Vulcan Science Academy, becoming the first human to do so. Sarek clearly doesn’t have a handle on being the best dad in the galaxy, however, Michael Burnham is as full of conflict as her adoptive brother. It’s uncomfortable for her, but makes for compelling viewing in the hands of Martin-Green.