First of all, as a student of culture and popular culture and the impact that it has on us all, I know this to be true: Seeing yourself represented in the popular culture is really critical in terms of forming your own self image.
I’m old enough to have been around before seeing black people represented in the popular culture in diverse ways. When I was a kid, it was a big deal to see a black person on television. So that’s why it was important in a science fiction thing — in “Star Trek” — it was huge. I read a lot of science fiction books as a kid. As a kid of science fiction, “Star Trek” was important to me and seeing a person of color in a command position was hugely important to me.