Marsai Martin talks 'Black-ish,' role as 15-year-old executive producer

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Marsai Martin talks 'Black-ish,' role as 15-year-old executive producer
Sandy Kenyon reports on the young prodigy.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- One of the joys of watching "Black-ish" has been watching the kids on the show grow up. As one of the twins on the show, Marsai Martin has stood-out in a strong cast headed by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, who play her parents.

But this 15-year-old's achievements away from the series have also drawn plenty of attention.

Earlier this year, Martin earned her place in Hollywood history as the youngest executive producer of a feature film. A female boss, played by Regina Hall, wakes up as a little girl played by Marsai in "Little."

The idea was based on an idea the young star thought-up herself at the age of 10.

"I am a businesswoman," her character states firmly, "and I have a company to run."

That was also true off-screen. The young EP, "was like, 'Hi guys! I'm the boss,'" but she admits, "That's kind of weird to say."

We met the head of Genius Productions on the set of "Black-ish"- where she first found fame as the character Diane Johnson five years ago. Behind her familiar smile is a core of titanium, and parents who have backed her every step of the way.

"Just being around them reminds me how grateful I am," she said. "And that's what keeps me humble."

After Season 1 of her hit show, Martin took the extraordinary step of firing her agents when those adults couldn't dream big enough. Her desire to make movies seemed out of reach to them.

"They were like, 'There's no little black girls in this,'" she said. "There's literally nothing for me and anyone that looks like me."

Marsai was to prove them very wrong, while remaining loyal to "Black-ish."

"This isn't the end, you know?" she said. "This is actually just the beginning."

She has been called a prodigy, a role model and an inspiration, and it was a pleasure to meet her mom, Carol Martin.

She keeps her talented daughter grounded by reminding her about chores at home and treating her like a normal teen, instead of a star with more than 1.6 million followers on Instagram.


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