This actor, director and children’s television host is most known for his work in Roots (1977), the Star Trek: Next Generation franchise (1987-1994) and Reading Rainbow. (1983-2006). He’s also the popular pick to succeed the late, great Alex Trebek in hosting duties for the popular game show, Jeopardy!
Who is LeVar Burton?
Correct! (well… with an asterisk).
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Burton expounded on the topic that’s had him trending in the news lately, but he also opened up in a way that reminds fans that you can’t spell “persona” without “person.”
“I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do,” Burton said about the thought of becoming the next permanent host of Jeopardy!. “I have been watching Jeopardy! more or less every night of my life since Art Fleming was host. Jeopardy! is a cultural touchstone, and for a Black man to occupy that podium is significant. Look, I have had a career for the [expletive] ages. Roots, Star Trek, Reading Rainbow. Won a Grammy. Got a shelf full of Emmys. I’m a storyteller and game shows are tremendous stories.”
Burton also opened up about living with the image the public has created and the man he actually is. Overall, he says, “my goal is to be authentic to myself as well as have a real relationship with those that I come in contact with through storytelling.”
“I would venture to say, based on some encounters that I have had on Twitter, that there is a population of people who aren’t willing to see me displaying an aspect of my character that perhaps goes against their idea of who I am,” he added. “They feel like they have the right to opine on who I should be, what I should and should not say. That’s an interesting part of this dynamic of fame. However, I spent a lot of time and energy discovering, defining, divining who I am and how I want to live my life. What you do with what I put out there is your business. What I put out there is my business.”
In case you missed it, Burton will be guest-hosting Jeopardy! this July. Let’s say that the Jeopardy! Powers That Be have a kink for Black Twitter and Trekkies dragging them for filth, and if they don’t pick Burton as the permanent host, it’s a hypothetical I don’t even want to think about since I’m pretty committed to him as a top contender—but hey, it could happen!
Burton weighed in on that tough question, too.
“It will hurt,” Burton admitted to NYT’s David Marchese. “I’m not going to lie. But if that happens, I will get over it. I will be fine. Remember: Everything happens perfectly and for a reason. That is my default. It’s all going to be OK. Because it always is.”