LeVar Burton

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Levar Burton 1957


At a Glance

Reading Rainbow

Star Trek

Juggling Commitments


Multi-talented actor LeVar Burton is probably best known for his role as Lieutenant Commander Geordi Laforge, the blind chief engineer, in Paramount Televisions syndicated science fiction hit, Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is also host and coproducer of the long running, Emmy-winning Public Broadcasting Systems educational series, Reading Rainbow, and many will remember him as Kunta Kinte, a slave tortured into giving up his African identity in Roots, a 1976 television miniseries that broke viewing records and inspired a national discussion on the issue of race.

Burton had been plucked from drama school for his role in Roots, and that miniseries, with its incredible impact, made him a household name. However his identity as Kinte almost turned into an albatross around his neck; he feared never having an identity outside that of Kinte. For several years in the late 1970s and early 1980s it seemed that this might be the case. However Burton did eventually build a new public identity beginning with his debut on Reading Rainbow in 1983, and culminating with the massive success of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr. was born in 1957, in Landstuhl, West Germany. His father, Levardis, Sr. was an army sergeant stationed in Germany as a photographer. When his parents separated, three-year-old LeVar returned to Sacramento, California with his mother, Erma Christian, and his two sisters Letitia and Valencia.

My mom was an English teacher, and reading, for my family, was like breathing, Burton told a Daily Variety writer. Religion, too, was an important element in Burtons upbringing. His mother was a Catholic with strongly held beliefs. She sent her son to parochial school, where he felt the call to become a priest. What attracted me to the priesthood was the opportunity to move people, to provide something essential, Burton told James Van Hise, author of Trek: The Next Generation. I was drawn by the elements of history and magic. As a priest, you live beyond the boundaries of the normal existence. Its like joining an elite club. You see, its not that different from acting, even the Mass is a play, combining these elements of mystery and spectacle.

Burton entered a Catholic seminary at the age of 13. Ever filled with curiosity, he began reading the philosophical

At a Glance

Born Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr., February 16, 1957, in Landstuhl, Germany; son of Levardis Robert (a photographer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps) and Erma (an educator, social worker, and administrator; maiden name, Christian) Burton. Education: Attended the University of Southern, California.

Actor. Debuted in Roots, ABC, 1977. Television series include: Reading Rainbow, PBS, 1983; Star Trek: The Next Generation, syndicated, 1987-94; Captain Planet, TNT, 1991. Film appearances include: Looking for Mr. Coodbar, Î977; The Hunter, 1980; The Supernaturais, 1987. Television movies include: Billy Portrait of a Street Kid, 1977; Battered, 1978; One in a Million: The Ron Leflore Story, 1978; Dummy, 1979; Guyana Tragedy: The Story ofjim fones, 1980; Gramblings White Tiger, 1981 ; The Acorn People, 1981; Emergency Room, 1983; The Jesse Owens Story, 1984; The Midnight Hour, 1985; A Special Friendship, 1987; Roots: The Gift, 1987; Firestorm: 72 Hours in Oakland, 1993.

Awards: Emmy nominee, best actor, 1977, for Roots; NAACP Image Award for Reading Rainbow, 1994.

Addresses: Office c/o Lancit Media Productions, 601 W. 50th St., Reading Rainbow, New York, NY 10019.

works of Lao-Tzu, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. It was not long after these readings that he began questioning Catholic Church dogma. I began to wonder how I fit into the grand scheme of things, he told Van Hise. The more I thought about it the less sense it made that the dogma of Catholicism was the end-all, be-all of the universe.

By the age of 17, Burton was sure the priesthood was not for him. He left the seminary and won a scholarship to study drama at the University of California. A scant two years later he auditioned for Roots. At the time young black television stars were a rarity, so author Alex Haley and executives at ABC searched drama schools for a young black talent to play the lead in a minisefies based on Haleys book.

Being chosen for the role of Kunta Kinte was the chance of a lifetime. Looking back Burton acknowledged that Haleys involvement in his life changed him forever. He handed me my dreams on a silver platter. Burton told a Los Angeles Daily News reporter. Alexs involvement in my life changed my life forever and always.

Roots became the television phenomenon of 1977, and of the decade. It broke all viewing records and became a starting point for a national discussion of slavery and race. Burtons character, Kinte was the focus in one of the series most dramatic moments. Trying to make Kinte respond to his slave name, Toby, an overseer whipped Kinte mercilessly. For a time, Kinte refused to answer to any but his African name. Finally, as he l[ay] there bleeding and defeated, reviewer, Nancy Mills of the New York Daily News recalled, he whisper[ed] the detested [slave name] Toby. Viewers across the nation collectively breathed a sighof anguish.

Roots was an overwhelming success and Kunta Kinte became a household word, but Burton had to fight against being overidentified with the character he portrayed so well. For the first five years of my career, he explained in the Daily News, I made a supreme and conscious effort to distance myself from Kunta. Burton accomplished that by obtaining choice roles throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Burton garnered a supporting role in the hit Diane Keaton film, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, and he starred in a number of television movies, including One in a Million: The Ron Leflore Story, Gramblings White Tiger, The Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones, Battered, Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid, and the Emmy-nominated, Dummy. Despite these consistent and often high profile television appearances, Burton sometimes seemed lost in the shuffle. The contrast between Roots, which affected the nation, and a run-of-the-mill television movie was just too great.

Reading Rainbow

Burton began the process of shaping his identity outside of Roots in 1983, when he debuted as host of Reading Rainbow, a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) series meant to keep kids ages five through eight, reading through the summer. The show was immediately successful, and it became a long-running PBS staple, winning five Emmy awards in more than 11 years on the air.

Reading Rainbows format is simple. Burton begins by reading a storymaking sure to show his viewers the book he is reading. Taking off from the text he has read, he then explores the days subject in on-location segments. Sometimes celebrity guest readers are featured as well as kid-on-the-street segments. The show ends with kids themselves reviewing books.

Critics have lauded Burtons skill at hosting Reading Rainbow. The Christian Science Monitor described him as projecting warmth, intelligence, and kindness and deemed Burton an excellent role model who never condescends to his audience. The reviewer continued: Burton shows that books are relevant to real life, and he has something to say about patience, perseverance, understanding, prejudice, kids cruelty and the appropriate response to it.

Whats special about Burtons hosting style, entertainment newspaper Daily Variety reported is that, rather than serving as an authority on a topic, he participates in its discovery with his audience, evidencing such enthusiasm from what he is learning that it encourages his young viewers to do the same. We make sure that the show does not condescend to the audience, Burton emphasized in a Daily Variety interview. I talk to the kids as peers.

As a contributing producer since 1987, Burton has pushed the show towards addressing kids problems. We can share critically important knowledge and information by addressing the issues and concerns of what its like to grow up in todays world, he was quoted as saying in Daily Variety. We talk about what a family looks and feels like, about love and support. At one point in the show, I talk to the kids by addressing them in the camera dead on, and say, If anybody tries to tell you that you are not a family, dont let them.

Reading Rainbow has achieved a longevity and a popularity of few educational programs. In the mid-1990s, it was airing five days each week on nearly 330 PBS stations. More than 132,000 schools were using it, and a nationwide survey showed that 98 percent of childrens librarians said that Reading Rainbow stimulated noticeable interest in books among beginning readers.

On January 10, 1994 Burton won the NAACP Image Award for his work on the show. He is proud of the way Reading Rainbow uses television to help create, passionate, literate human beings, he told the Christian Science Monitor, and he is amazed by kids ability to appreciate the written word. I am continually hearing my favorite author is and that just blows me away, he told the Los Angeles Times. To be that sophisticated so as to recognize the voice of a writer and to align yourself with that voice as a child is outrageous !

Star Trek

In 1987, Burton was cast as Lieutenant Commander, Geordi LeForge in the syndicated hit Star Trek: The Next Generation, possibly the key event in his career. As one of The Next Generations lead characters, Burton appeared in every episode and achieved a degree of recognition he hadnt seen since Roots. Burton had been a fan of the original Star Trek because it provided a rare positive representation of blacks. In The Next Generation, blacks played an even more important role than they had in the initial series. For example, as the blind chief engineer, Burtons character was responsible for the mechanical well being of the starship Enterprise.

One of the highlights of his experience on the show was the opportunity he got to direct episodes. For his first six years on the show, he observed the way other directors operatedstudying their techniques. Finally in 1993, he got his chance to direct his first episode. Called Second Chances, it featured Jonathan Frakess character, Commander Riker, coming face-to-face with his alter ego on the planet Nervala Four. As director, Burton took the opportunity to cast Dr. Mae Jemison, Americas real-life first African-American female astronaut. When asked by a Chicago Tribune reporter how he decided to cast Jemison, Burton jokingly replied, I knew Mac from just being around the planet.

Burton enjoyed making Second Chances. I loved directing, he concluded in the Chicago Tribune. And Im really proud. I think its an excellent episode. Critics agreed. Chicago Tribunes Kevin Moore wrote that Burton had a particular flair for directing.

Juggling Commitments

While the demands for a principal actor in the highest rated syndicated show in television history can be tough, Burton managed to continue his acting and personal life off the Enterprise. He spent time with his son Eian, who was born out of a fleeting relationship in 1980. In 1992, he married Stephanie Cozart, a television makeup artist. Meanwhile he continued hosting Reading Rainbow by scheduling its shoots during weekends and on breaks from The Next Generation. Its insane, he told Daily Variety, but we just make it happen.

In 1988, Burton, who was finally secure in his acting identity outside his role of Kunta Kinte, agreed to reprise that role in a Christmas special entitled, Roots: The Gift. Set in 1770, Kinte and the character, Fiddlerplayed by Louis Gossett, Jr.help a group of abused slaves to freedom. Its really a great opportunity to come back and play a character 12 years later. Burton informed the Daily News. Kunta Kinte and Fiddler are really folk heroes and the closest thing we have to black folk heroes in American literature.

Burton was cast as Kwame, the African environmental hero battling ecovillains on Turner Network Televisions environmental kids cartoon, Captain Planet, in 1991. The animated feature, like Reading Rainbow, has been rated as among the best kids programs on television. Along with Kwame, Burton provides the voice for Captain Planet, an even more potent superhero who forms when the lesser characters temporarily surrender, and thus synthesize, their power.

At the end of the 1994 season, Paramount canceled Star Trek: The Next Generation in order to bring the characters from the series to the big screen the following fall. Reaction to the shows cancellation was mixed among the Enterprises crew. Some were angry, but Burton, for his part, felt the time was right, This has been a very fulfilling seven-year cycle in my life, he told the Vancouver Sun but I feel in my very being that its time to move on.

Along with his participation in films based on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burton has plans to produce, write, and direct his own projects. He has a production company called Eagle Nation Films. With his partner, Julia Roberson, he intends to bring several projects to the screen including Malidoma, the true story of a West African shaman who is a bridge between conflicting worlds. Burton wrote the screenplay for Malidoma and intends to star in, as well as direct, this project.



Bogle, Donald, Blacks in American Films and Television: An Encyclopedia, Fireside, 1988, p. 327.

Van Hise, James, Trek: The Next Generation, Pioneer Books, 1991, pp. 30-1.


Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1993, p. 40.

The Christian Science Monitor, April 25, 1994, p. 16.

Daily News (New York), June 19, 1988.

Daily Variety, April 20, 1993.

Entertainment Weekly, May 6, 1994.

Los Angeles Times, July 11, 1993, p. 78.

Parade, May 30, 1993, p. 2.

United Press International, January 19, 1993.

Vancouver Sun, May 9, 1994, p. C1.

Washington Post, July 25, 1993, p. Y6.

Jordan Wankoff

views updated

Burton, LeVar 1957–

(Levar Burton)


Full name, Levardis Robert Martyn Burton, Jr.; born February 16, 1957, in Landsthul, West Germany (now Germany); son of Levardis Robert Martyn (a photographer in the U.S. Army Signal Corps) and Erma (an educator, social worker, and administrator; maiden name, Christian) Burton; married Stephanie Cozart (a makeup artist), October 3, 1992; children: Eian, Michaela. Education: Graduated from the University of Southern California. Religion: Agape. Avocational Interests: Promoting literacy in children.

Addresses: Agent—Paradigm, 360 North Crescent Dr., North Building, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. Manager—The Marion Rosenberg Office, P.O. Box 69826, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Publicist—Jonas Public Relations, 240 26th St., Suite 3, Santa Monica, CA 90402. Office—Eagle Nation Films, 5555 Melrose Ave., Dietrich Bldg Suite 207, Los Angeles, CA 90038.

Career: Actor, director, producer, and writer. Eagle Nation Films, founder and president. Established a scholarship at the University of Southern California.

Member: Directors Guild of America (member of board of directors).

Awards, Honors: Emmy Award nomination, outstanding actor in a single performance for a drama or comedy series, 1977, for Roots; star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1990; Daytime Emmy awards, outstanding performer in a children's program, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001, and 2002, Daytime Emmy awards (with others), outstanding children's series, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2003, Daytime Emmy Award nominations, outstanding performer in a children's program, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2005, Daytime Emmy Award nominations (with others), outstanding children's series, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, and 1999, Image Award, outstanding performance in a youth or children's series or special, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 1995, 1999, 2002, and 2003, Image Award nominations, outstanding performance in a youth or children's series or special, 1998, 2001, and 2005, all for Reading Rainbow; Image Award, best performance in an educational or informational youth or children's series or special, 1996, and Bronze Award, K through 12 category, The Cindy Competitions, Cinema in Industry, 1997, both for LeVar Burton Presents: A Reading Rainbow Special; Genie Award nomination (with David Martin and Pamela Phillips Oland), best achievement in music—original song, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, 2003, for the song "Center of My Heart," from the film Blizzard; Best of the Fest, Chicago International Children's Film Festival, 2004, for Blizzard.


Television Appearances; Series:

Host, Rebop, PBS, 1978–79.

Himself in recurring appearances, The $50,000 Pyramid, syndicated, 1981.

Host, Reading Rainbow, PBS, c. 1983–2005.

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: The Next Generation (also known as The Next Generation and Star Trek: TNG), syndicated, 1987–94.

Voice of Kwame and opening narrator, Captain Planet and the Planeteers (animated), TBS and syndicated, 1990–93.

Voice of Kwame, The New Adventures of Captain Planet (animated), TBS and syndicated, 1993–96.

Daniel "Dan" Scott, Christy (also known as Catherine Marshall's "Christy"), CBS, 1994–95.

Television Appearances; Miniseries:

Kunta Kinte/Toby Reynolds, Roots, ABC, 1977.

Richard Jefferson, Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (also known as The Mad Messiah), CBS, 1980.

Professor Slade Preston, The Jesse Owens Story, syndicated, 1984.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Billy Peoples, Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid (also known as Ghetto Child), CBS, 1977.

Andrew Sinclair, Battered, NBC, 1978.

Ron LeFlore, One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story (also known as Man of Passion), CBS, 1978.

Donald Lang, Dummy, CBS, 1979.

Charles "Tank" Smith, Grambling's White Tiger, NBC, 1981.

Rodney, The Acorn People, NBC, 1981.

Ray Walden, Emergency Room, syndicated, 1983.

Vinnie Davis, The Midnight Hour (also known as In the Midnight Hour), ABC, 1985.

Robert Johnson, Liberty, NBC, 1986.

Ben Sumner, A Special Friendship, CBS, 1987.

Kunta Kinte, Roots: The Gift (also known as A Roots Christmas: Kunta Kinte's Gift), ABC, 1988.

Redemption II, 1991.

Fire chief J. Allan Mather, Firestorm: 72 Hours in Oakland (also known as Firestorm: A Catastrophe in Oakland), ABC, 1993.

Dr. Franklin Carter, Parallel Lives, Showtime, 1994.

Winstrom, Yesterday's Target, Showtime, 1996.

Himself, Dancing in September, HBO, 2000.

Television Appearances: Specials:

Himself, Battle of the Network Stars, ABC, 1976.

Himself, Battle of the Network Stars II, ABC, 1977.

Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes, CBS, 1977.

The Paul Lynde Comedy Hour, ABC, 1977.

Battle of the Network Stars V, ABC, 1978.

Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes, CBS, 1979.

The Celebrity Football Classic, NBC, 1979.

I Love Liberty, ABC, 1982.

Booth, PBS, 1984.

Breathing Easy, PBS, 1984.

(As Levar Burton) Himself, Farm Aid '87, 1987.

Living the Dream: A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, 1988.

(Uncredited) Himself, The Star Trek 25th Anniversary Special, syndicated, 1991.

Geordi La Forge, Comic Relief VI, HBO, 1994.

Himself, Journey's End: The Saga of Star Trek—The Next Generation (documentary), 1994.

Himself, Star Trek: 30 Years and Beyond, UPN, 1996.

It's a Wonderful Cyberlife: A Holiday Buying Guide, The Discovery Channel, 1996.

LeVar Burton Presents: A Reading Rainbow Special (also known as LeVar Burton Presents "Act against Violence": A Reading Rainbow Special), PBS, 1996.

50 Years of Television: A Celebration of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Golden Anniversary (documentary), HBO, 1997.

(As Levar Burton) Voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. in his twenties, Our Friend, Martin (live action and animated), Starz!, 1999.

(In archive footage) Ultimate Trek: Star Trek's Greatest Moments, UPN, 1999.

Snowfest 2000, PAX TV, 2000.

The 70th Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade, syndicated, 2001.

Host, Roots—Celebrating 25 Years: The Saga of an American Classic (documentary; also known as Roots: Celebrating 25 Years), NBC, 2002.

Himself, Inside TV Land: African Americans in Television (documentary), TV Land, 2002.

Presenter, ABC 50th Anniversary Celebration, ABC, 2003.

Commentator, TV Revolution (documentary), Bravo, 2004.

Host, Mission: Space (documentary), PAX TV, 2004.

Himself, Emmy's Greatest Moments, 2004.

Himself, The N-Word (documentary), Trio, 2004.

Miracle's Boys: The Making of a Miniseries (documentary), 2004.

Himself, Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool (documentary), TNT and TCM, 2005.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

Presenter, The 19th Annual NAACP Image Awards, 1987.

Presenter, The 20th NAACP Image Awards, NBC, 1988.

The 18th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, CBS, 1991.

The 23rd Annual NAACP Image Awards, NBC, 1991.

The 19th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, NBC, 1992.

Host, The American Television Awards, ABC, 1993.

The 48th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards (also known as The 1996 Emmy Awards), ABC, 1996.

The 27th Annual NAACP Image Awards (also known as NAACP Image Awards), Fox, 1996.

Presenter, Caribbean Music Awards, syndicated, 1997.

Presenter, The 28th NAACP Image Awards, Fox, 1997.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards (also known as 1997 Screen Actors Guild Awards and The 33rd Screen Actors Guild Awards), NBC, 1997.

The 29th NAACP Image Awards, 1998.

The 30th NAACP Image Awards, 1999.

The Second Annual Family Television Awards, CBS, 2000.

Presenter, The 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, CBS, 2002.

Presenter, The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards, ABC, 2003.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Himself, Dinah!, syndicated, 1977.

Himself, The $20,000 Pyramid, ABC, 1977.

Dave, "Almos' a Man," American Short Story, PBS, 1978.

"A Salute to the Brownings," Anyone for Tennyson?, PBS, 1978.

Himself, The American Sportsman, ABC, 1982.

"A Piece of the Action," Trapper John, M.D., CBS, 1982.

Himself, The $25,000 Pyramid, CBS, 1982.

Edward Ross, Jr., "Edward/The Extraordinary Miss Jones," Fantasy Island, ABC, 1983.

Davis, "Booker," WonderWorks, PBS, 1984.

"Love Is Blind," The Love Boat, ABC, 1984.

Glenn Scott, "And the Children Shall Lead," WonderWorks, PBS, 1986.

Dave Robinson, "Death Takes a Dive," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1987.

Evans, "Bad Girl," Houston Knights, CBS, 1987.

Voice of Hayden Sloane, "The Worry Men," Batman: The Animated Series (animated; also known as Batman), The WB, 1993.

Mr. Metcalf, "The Boss," Deadly Games, UPN, 1995.

Voice of Anansi, "Mark of the Panther," Gargoyles (animated), The Disney Channel, 1996.

Captain Geordi LaForge, "Timeless," Star Trek: Voyager (also known as Voyager), UPN, 1998.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, PBS, 1998.

Mr. Haller, "Beckerethics," Becker, CBS, 2000.

Himself, "Star Trek Edition," Weakest Link, NBC, 2001.

Himself, Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2001.

Himself, "Indy Filmmakers," Mornings on IMC, 2003.

Marvin Lloyd, "The Hole-in-the-Wall Gang," Boomtown, NBC, 2003.

Himself, Mad TV, Fox, 2003.

Himself, Tinseltown TV, International Channel, 2004.

Himself, "Hollywood Home Game," World Poker Tour, Travel Channel, 2005.

Himself, Tavis Smiley, PBS, 2005.

Contributor of a voice characterization, "The Frog Prince," Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child (animated), HBO; appeared in episodes of other television series.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: The Next Generation—Encounter at Farpoint (also known as Encounter at Farpoint), syndicated, 1987.

Television Work; Series:

Executive producer and contributing producer, Reading Rainbow, PBS, c. 1983–2005.

Television Director; Miniseries:

"Free Day," Miracle's Boys, Noggin, 2005.

Television Director; Movies:

The Tiger Woods Story, Showtime, 1998.

Smart House, The Disney Channel, 1999.

Television Work; Specials:

Producer, LeVar Burton Presents: A Reading Rainbow Special (also known as LeVar Burton Presents "Act against Violence": A Reading Rainbow Special), PBS, 1996.

Television Director; Episodic:

"Pegasus," Star Trek: The Next Generation (also known as The Next Generation and Star Trek: TNG), syndicated, 1993.

"Second Chances," Star Trek: The Next Generation (also known as The Next Generation and Star Trek: TNG), syndicated, 1993.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (also known as DS9, Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: DS9), syndicated, various episodes from 1995–99.

Star Trek: Voyager (also known as Voyager), UPN, various episodes from 1995–2001.

"Samurai Secrets," Soul Food, Showtime, 2000.

"Nice Work If You Can Get It," Soul Food, Showtime, 2001.

Star Trek: Enterprise (also known as Enterprise), UPN, various episodes from 2001–2005.

"Pulse Rate," JAG, CBS, 2003.

"Extreme Makeover: Worlds Edition," Charmed, The WB, 2005.

Film Appearances:

Cap Jackson, Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Paramount, 1977.

Tommy Price, The Hunter, Paramount, 1980.

Private Michael Osgood, The Supernaturals, Republic Entertainment International, 1986.

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: Generations (also known as Star Trek VII and Star Trek 7), Paramount, 1994.

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: First Contact (also known as Star Trek: Borg, Star Trek: Destinies, Star Trek: Future Generations, Star Trek: Generations II, Star Trek: Resurrection), Paramount, 1996.

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge and himself, Trekkies (documentary), Paramount Classics, 1997.

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: Insurrection (also known as Star Trek 9), Paramount, 1998.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Ali, Columbia, 2001.

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: Nemesis, Paramount, 2002.

(In archive footage) Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (documentary), 2004.

Film Director:

Blizzard, 2003.


Video Games:

Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: The Next Generation—A Final Unity, 1995.

Voice of Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: Generations, 1997.

(In archive footage) Lieutenant commander Geordi La Forge, Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 1999.

Music Videos:

Police lieutenant, Cameo, "Word Up," c. 1986.


Arnold Rampersad, Jackie Robinson: A Biography, Random Audio, 1997.

Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Bantam Audio, 1997.

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., Time Warner Audiobooks, 1999.

George Dawson and Richard Glaubman, Life Is So Good, Audio Literature, 2000.



Wrote Malidoma and Masters of the Far East.

Film Music; Songs for Films:

(With David Martin and Pamela Phillips Oland) "Center of My Heart," Blizzard, 2003.


Aftermath, Warner Books, 1996, also produced as an audiobook.


(Author of introduction) Twila Christensen Liggett and Cynthia Mayer Benfield, Reading Rainbow Guide to Children's Books: The 101 Best Titles, Carol Publishing Group, 1994.



Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 8, Gale, 1995.

Van Hise, James, Trek: The Next Generation, Pioneer Books, 1991.


Booklist, November 1, 1996, p. 459.

DreamWatch, February, 1999, pp. 24-25.

Library Journal, December, 1996, p. 152.

Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2002.

NEA Today, November, 1995, p. 7.

Parade, June 20, 1999, pp. 4-5.

People Weekly, March 7, 1988, p. 65.

Publishers Weekly, December 9, 1996, p. 64.

Starlog, January, 1991; May, 1997.

Star Trek Communicator, March, 1997, pp. 18-21; April, 1998, pp. 32-34.

TV Guide, August 13, 1988, p. 12; November 14, 1998, p. 4; June 21, 2003, p. 15.

TV Zone, September, 1996, pp. 39-43.