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Marsai Martin is a black girl boss

STAR POWER: Marsai Martin

GENERATION Z continues to amaze me. The savvy digital natives continue to put the rest of us (millenials included) to shame with their awareness, action and approach to everything from their socio-political beliefs to even their impending careers.

One of the many young women exhibiting this to the fullest is Marsai Martin. The 14-year-old who made her introduction to the world on the hit show Black-ish, is already black excellence personified.

She runs her own production company, Genius Productions, signed a first-look production deal with Universal Studios and has gained her first executive producer credit with her new movie Little - a comedy film she developed after watching ‘Big’ and deciding she wanted to do a reverse take on an old classic.

“I saw Big which was my mom’s favourite film growing up and I told my parents the idea. We then talked about it and went to Kenya Barris and Will Packer with the concept and the rest is history,” said Martin.

“There wasn’t a lot of black girls I saw on TV and film so I wanted to create something that all people felt welcomed to and young black girls could be inspired by.”

This desire to bring representation to the forefront was key to Martin as Little shows black girls of all ages dominate on the screen but also behind the scenes. The film, directed by Tina Gordon, also includes a host of black female screenwriters and its executive producers include the teen alongside co-star Regina Hall.

“This movie is powerful because you don’t get to see this often. We have a bunch of black girl magic in front of the camera and behind the camera so I feel like something like this can be inspiring to all.”

The fun-natured comedy has its laugh out loud moments as Hall and Martin take on the role of mean girl boss Jordan Sanders [Hall], who through a twist of fate and a little magic is turnt back into her younger self [Martin] in order to learn a lesson about how to treat the people around her.

Alongside its humour and witty banter, the movie also shares messages of empowerment, self acceptance and embracing one's beauty. This is most notably seen through Martin wearing her natural hair throughout the entire movie - an image that black girls don’t usually get to see in films.

“I feel like hair is something that can define you and you don't see a lot of those hairstyles on black women in film,” said the Texas native. “It’s usually straight or something different to their natural texture so I definitely wanted to touch on that too.”

Touching on different issues that many young girls go through whilst keeping the movie light and fun is no easy feat. And for Martin, the experience of working her first feature film definitely had some teachable moments.

“This is my first feature film so I’d say definitely the lines were a bit of challenge. But honestly, nothing was really hard - it was more of just a learning process for me.

“Since this is also my first time being an executive producer for something this big, it was important to get advice from Will [Packer] and Tina [Gordon] on having a good balance between acting and producing.”

This balance is clearly emulated perfectly on screen as Martin’s star power radiates on camera, giving the world just a glimpse of what to expect from the young talent.

“If viewers could take one thing away from watching Little it’s that I want them to know you can do anything at any age or at any time and if that’s your passion go for it.

“I feel like this film is something that’s funny for all families and when they see it, it’ll be funny because they'll know a 14-year-old created it.”

Little is in cinemas now

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