Star Wars is a big deal for a lot of people, myself included. Its influence on American pop culture cannot be understated. A cultural icon like no other, Star Wars permeates all forms of media from TV shows to comic books. Never before has there been a major black character to champion the franchise. Until now.
Casually, I think most Americans would agree that there should be equal representation behind the lens. And I don't suspect a high-level Hollywood conspiracy. No racist or sexist villains lurking in the halls of power, twirling their mustaches. Honestly, I think dudes are comfortable with other dudes, so they hire them.