[Not really a confession, but your recent posts made me think in how much I respect and am grateful for the DS9 actors. Be it Nana Visitor refusing to do the Kira/Dukat love storyline, Avery Brooks refusing to do Sisko abandoning forever his wife and unborn child or Alexander Siddig doing awful impressions of his lines until they stopped trying to change Julian’s personality, they seemed to be the ones to care the most about the characters and the fans, the ones wanting to do a good job in a way that most of the people in charge really didn’t care about doing.]
Avery wanted that look from day one. For us, the notion of the white man ‘holding us down’ is not a thing, but for Avery it was. I can’t even imagine what the poor man went through with those guys. With Rick Berman. It’s like they stripped him of his power. But then as soon as he got to be his physical image and stopped looking like a black Ken doll - I’m sorry, it’s true! - and got to look like his vision of Sisko, it was like night and day. He was suddenly a powerful cat and it was, like, 'Whoa, I wouldn’t fuck with him!’
Terry Farrell, discussing the change in Sisko’s look at the beginning of season 4 in Star Trek DS9
I’m at the part of The Fifty Year Mission in which the DS9 cast and crew are talking about how finally by season 4 Avery Brooks was allowed by the studio powers to look the way he wanted to look (aka the great hair migration). I had always stupidly bought the official explanation that Paramount didn’t want two different captains to be bald-headed. And I figured it was just executive stupidity. But reading this book with so many comments similar to the ones Farrell gave, I can see that the studio execs were fearful of the image of a powerful black man. That is still executive stupidity but of a significantly different and very problematic nature.
Thinking about it further, you can say that Benny Russell’s battle to bring Benjamin Sisko to life in the episode Far Beyond the Stars is similar to the battle that Avery Brooks had to wage to present Sisko in the way he believed was the correct one.
[Honestly the end of DS9 makes me so mad with Ben going to stay with the prophets since his bond with jakes is so intensely loving, and as we learn in the vistor, jakes is a mess of a human without his dad’s guidance through life ]
Editor’s Note: Avery Brooks was originally furious with the ending, viewing it as a death, and Ben abandoning Jake, Kassidy, and their child. It was only the explanation of Ira Behr that Ben was not dying but becoming a prophet and thus would be able to come back that persuaded him.
[Sisko is my favorite captain for his portrayal of a leader who can maintain loyalty and respect and also participate and be a part of the lives of the people around him. He’s disciplined and reserved, but then wacky and joyful. I mean Sisko’s laugh is the best, right? Especially in contrast to the moments when he’s had enough of your nonsense.]
[I think DS9 is awesome for so many things, but it sometimes annoyed me how Captain Sisko was never allowed to have a love interest who wasn’t also black… it seemed like the same racism that stopped Kirk & Uhura kissing for real was still playing out, 30 years later.]
Editor’s Note: I’ve actually been thinking about this confession for a few weeks. Why? Well, Avery Brooks has stated plainly on multiple occasions the deciding factor for his taking on the part of Sisko was the opportunity to show a positive relationship of a black father and son.
As such I am almost certain that Sisko only being involved romantically with other black women (Jennifer, Fenna, Kasidy) was not due to a fear of inter-racial couples by the producers, but due to Avery himself wanting to further show further positive black families and relationships.