This isn't the first time Slate has read my mind. In fact, it usually happens about once a week. I too have often wondered why so many eccentric blacks are SO into outer space.
I've always wondered if they go off the deep end and then become fascinated with the relatively empty regions of the universe outside the atmospheres of celestial bodies or are they so consumed with intergalactic space travel they go insane?
Basically, which came first: the chicken or the egg?
Normally when white people go crazy they'll write a really good book or they'll kill a bunch of people whereas when black people go nuts they become obsessed with outer space. You can find a serious concentration of this theory within the music world.
Just off the top of my head theres George Clinton and his P-Funk All Stars.
You've got Sun Ra and Kanye West.
There's Bootsy Collins and Pharrell.
There's Afrika Bambaataa and OutKast.
May as well throw The Commodores and Kool Keith/Dr. Octagon in the ring, too.
The title of this entry, Homeboys in Outer Space, was the title of an honest to god sitcom that aired from 1996 to 1997 on UPN 9.
I almost forgot, Riley Martin!
Slate's Jonah Weiner takes a deeper, more cerebral, look into why so many black musicians are obsessed with outer space.