Marsai Martin Says She Won't Do Projects that Show Black Pain: "That's Not Who I Am".
If you've ever seen an episode of "Black-ish" or if you've seen the movie "Little" then you know the young genius that is Marsai Martin! The 16-year-old is a trendsetter and a history maker. At the age of 14, Martin became the youngest Hollywood Executive Producer which landed her in the Guinness Book of World Records for her 2019 film "Little".
Over the weekend Martin added to her decorations winning two NAACP Image Awards for outstanding performance by a youth (series, special, television movie or limited series) and outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in Black-ish. With all of these accomplishments, one can't help but wonder what's next for the young star and how she's handling a business of this magnitude at such a young age? Martin, who is now producing a show for Disney called "Saturdays" which focuses on a teen with sickle cell anemia, sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss her project and what direction she hopes to go.
"We've been working on it for quite a while now. I've always wanted to have just a cool activity that like us Black people love — like everyone loves it but the aesthetic of roller skating is just amazing and it just doesn't get the recognition that it needs. I just wanted to shine a light on it. Then also, sickle cell is a very big thing in our Black community, it tackles us the most. It's never been seen on TV or film before so I wanted to make sure this was a moment to shine a light on it — in not a bad way because we don't do Black pain, but to where our main character is still celebrated, still loved and lives her life the way that she wants to. It's just very fun and very exciting. We're just bringing back the Disney Channel era that I grew up watching with That's So Raven and Good Luck Charlie, the shows that I love, and I wanted to bring that back in a way where everyone can watch it, not just the kids, but the family. It's our humor; I'm excited for it."
When asked about her rules on "black pain projects" Martin gave a brief list of her rules.
"I have a couple of rules when you come into my office," she said. "When you come into my office don't give me this--I don't do Black pain. If it's Black pain I don't go for it because there's so many films and projects about that, so that's not who I am. I want to make sure that it is diverse and real in its own way. I know a lot of people don't like the word "authentic," but I just love real stories that people can resonate with, even when it doesn't resonate with you personally but you know a friend who's dealt with that or families. And I love a good plot twist because it gets me every time, just something that is real and something that you can grow up watching, tell your kid's kids about it and just having those moments because I mean, I love old school stuff. I'm an old soul, so I grew up watching the films that my grandma was watching. So having something like that to where my kid's kids can watch something and still love it is something that I want to do."
This is how you uplift the culture and your people without compromising your standards. At only 16-years-old this young lady is already making big waves in an industry that just 50 years ago wouldn't have given someone her age an opportunity is amazing.