Once again we find ourselves in the month of February, and I'm sure you can guess what that means. BLACK HISTORY MONTH 2016!
And just as I did last year (Black History Month 2015), I have compiled a list to celebrate individuals of the Black persuasion who have achieved ICON status in a genre that often times excludes or under represents them. These characters from television and film have multiple appearances, longevity, and are fondly remembered and beloved by fans world wide.
So without further adieu and in no particular order...
THE TOP 5 BLACK SCI-FI CHARACTERS
Known from the tragically short lived and fan loved TV series FIREFLY and the SERENITY movie, Zoe Washburne (GINA TORRES) epitomized the qualities of a stalwart and loyal first mate. A fierce fighter, with a Mare's Leg as weapon of choice, she was often caught in the tug between loyalty to her captain (NATHAN FILLION) and her husband, the ship's pilot (ALAN TUDYK). She perfectly encapsulated the modern woman: strong, devoted, nurturing and beautiful, but always conflicted.
The enigmatic captain of the Nebuchadnezzar, Morpheus (LAURENCE FISHBURNE) took us on a reality-bending joy ride down the rabbit hole. A major player in THE MATRIX franchise, he served as the inspirational mentor/guru to Neo (KEANU REEVES), who he ardently believes is the "savior" of the human race. A leader with unparalleled kung-fu prowess, and possessing a keen strategist's mind, he was a driving force in the human rebellion against the machines.
Interesting side note: Morpheus and Zoe Washburne are married! That's right, Laurence Fishburne and Gina Torres have been husband and wife since 2002.
A surprising inclusion on this list, but Agent J (WILL SMITH) deserves his spot here. Because of the MEN IN BLACK franchise, he has become synonymous with conspiracy theory and shadowy gov't agencies. And although he stood juxtapose with his partner Agent K (TOMMY LEE JONES), his street-wise, smack talking style proved to be just what the MIB needed in defense of it's worst assaults. He proves success can be gained without compromising who you are.
Possibly the most iconic character on this list, Lt. Uhura (portrayed by NICHELLE NICHOLS and ZOE SALDANA) of STAR TREK fame, has been an inspirational example of cultural diversity from her first television appearance in 1966, including her taboo tv kiss with Captain Kirk (WILLIAM SHATNER) to her latest incarnation on film. She has embodied intelligence, sex appeal, and class as the Enterprise's communications officer, and her recent romance with Spock (ZACHARY QUINTO) revealed a compassionate, loving and strong willed woman equal to her male cohorts.
By far, the smoothest character on this list, Lando Calrissian (BILLY DEE WILLIAMS) has been a role model for young black fans of the original STAR WARS trilogy because he was a recognizable face to which they could relate (myself included). As the "frenemy" of Han Solo (HARRISON FORD) and later a general in the Rebellion, he demonstrated the beguiling charm of his smuggler past, true loyalty to those he cared for, and immeasurable daring in resisting the Empire. He was a true Hero.
Honorable mentions: BENJAMIN SISKO, GEORDI LAFORGE, TUVOK (who were left off to avoid a Star Trek dominated list), MACE WINDU, FINN (who may just go on to top this list once the new Star Wars trilogy concludes).
Also check out: TOP 5 BLACK SUPERHEROES