Marsai Martin continues her reign of NAACP Image Award wins with her 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Performance by a Youth. The actress and producer, who won the award for her role as Diane on black-ish, sat down with Shadow And Act’s Jessica Otse Idaewor in the NAACP Image Award’s virtual pressroom following her win to give advice to others who want to follow in her footsteps.
“I would say you’re going to get a lot [more] of ‘No’s than ‘Yes’es for sure,” she said, adding that having a team of trustworthy family and friends helps. “…[I]t’s okay to ask for help from anyone. …I could not at all be where I am right now it if it wasn’t for my team,” she said.
“I’m grateful to have a team that supports me…my friends, my friends in the industry, my amazing mentors and people I work with like Anthony [Anderson], Tracee [Ellis Ross], Lawrence [Fishburne], Jenifer [Lewis],” she added. “Having people that actually support me and don’t see me as some little Black girl trying to do something or even competing, because I know a lot of kid actors and parents in this industry think you’re competing and that’s just not the case, honestly.”
Martin has become a big name in Hollywood producing circles as the youngest producer in the industry. Her latest project, Saturdays, is set for the Disney Channel and could give Black disabled girls much-needed visibility. For others who want to make these kinds of waves, Martin said that creatives don’t need a lot to start.
“You don’t need big cameras or any of that to start off. You can start small, you can do it from your phone, you can write anywhere…just create it on your own if you don’t know any resources other than the ones that you have,” she said. “You don’t need anything big, you don’t need a big production to create a project that you truly love. If it’s yours, it’s yours, and just go ahead. Just go for it.”