Whether that had a little (or a lot) to do with the online harassment petition to bring him on remains unseen. But the fact of the matter is, it ultimately worked! Honestly, I couldn’t be happier. Levar Burton is a national treasure, a gem that must be protected at all costs, and apparently a living legend who helped another living legend (ahem, Whoopi Goldberg) secure a dream role on her favorite show. (You better do it for the culture!) Appearing on Monday morning’s episode of The View, Burton and Goldberg took a delightful stroll down memory lane when Whoopi divulged that it was Burton who swayed the higher-ups on Star Trek to give her a chance.
Speaking on the importance of representation in the show and showcasing a future that looks inclusive, Burton said in part:
“You and I have talked about this many times, with having Nichelle Nichols on the Bridge of the Enterprise and on the original Star Trek, [it] meant the world to me. It meant the world to us. Because what it said was when the future comes, there’s a place for us. And that’s a huge message to send. I believe it’s difficult if not impossible to grow up with a healthy self-image, unless you can see yourself in popular culture.”
Perhaps that’s exactly Burton’s upcoming presence on Jeopardy! in July (and hopefully for every episode thereafter) means so much. While we may not be little kids excitedly viewing Reading Rainbow anymore, Burton’s impact and place in pop culture back then and now is one that will and should never be taken lightly. Confirming to The View co-host Joy Behar that he’s officially putting his hat in the ring to take up Trebek’s mantle as the new host of the show, Burton explained:
“Here’s what I believe, Joy, I’ve said it for a long time. In 2013, I tweeted it for the first time how much I would love to have that job when Alex [Trebek] retired. But more than anything, I am eager to put my skills up against any one else in contention. And then let the chips fall where they may. The important thing for me is that I have an opportunity to compete for the job. And that’s all I ever really wanted.”
Well, y’all heard the man! Give him what he wants and give us, the people, what we rightfully deserve! The clock is ticking, the clock is ticking.