“LITTLE” START TO A BIG FUTURE

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Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin and Tina Gordon came to the Atlanta University Center on Thursday, Apr 4 to talk about their new movie, “Little,” and black women’s empowerment.

Martin has become the youngest executive producer in the entertainment industry with this production. She shared with the audience that she thought that it was surreal.

Marsai Martin brings life to the stage in joining the “Little” cast for the black women’s empowerment discussion.
Photo by: Aaron Crawford

“When I actually heard it, it was surreal to me because I thought that this actually happened. Like I thought that there was someone my age who actually had done this before,” Martin said.

Being that Martin is only fourteen years old and that she is a black girl, she had to handle rejection from so many people before she achieved her goal. She shared with the audience how she handled this rejection and how she continued to push forward to achieve her goal.

“When I was in the process of creating Little, I was ten at the time. So, when people saw me it was like ‘no.’ I am literally just a 10-year-old girl who is still in school trying to learn the ABC’s. No one would talk to me and hear what I was trying to say, but I feel like you have to stick to the right people and go with the people that you trust,” Martin said.

Inspired by the movie, “Big,” Martin thought that it would be great to see that type of movie with a strong black female cast. This is something that has not been done before because there is a black women barrier in the entertainment industry. Although this barrier exists, Hall inspired the audience not to accept no for an answer.

“You guys are in an amazing time because when I started people weren’t creating their own content. You guys — with the example of Issa and with the example of Marsai — you guys have power in your hands. You can create things. You have a voice where you get to support things. You literally dictate what’s on the screen. So, when you want to see people like you, watch people like you,” Hall stated.

Because the black women barrier exists, the cast talked about the importance of supporting black women and how they tried to employ as many black women as possible for the different projects in the movie.

“I started looking at other black women that would be doing different things that we could use in our production to present in the movie. So, I found an artist on Instagram — because I was looking for a reference for Issa — and then I saw she did a fan art for Issa. So, I asked her to do the art for the movie. So, Jordan’s apartment is done by a very cool artist that I found on Instagram. I think those smaller steps are just as important as when you get a co-star who is going to be in the film,” Gordon said.

In addition to the small steps that the cast made to bring more black females into the entertainment industry, Rae shared how Will Packer, the producer of the film, is helping to break the barrier for black people by giving them the opportunity to share their talents with the world.

Issa Rae thanks Will Packer Productions for bringing this project to life.
Photo by: Aaron Crawford

“Also, I have to give a shoutout to Will — obviously Will Packer — who has the foresight of producing a project like this to make sure that black women were at the helm and empowering us to tell our stories,” Rae said.

The cast provided the audience with advice about becoming a content creator.

“I am going to tell you all this. There is not a person in the world that says ‘no’ that could stop God’s ‘yes.’” Hall stated.

“For me, I always think about what I do have, instead of what I do not have. Because I can put these pieces together and make something. There really is no excuse at the end of the day. When it comes down to it, we have so many resources at the end of the day — as Regina suggested — at our fingertips and it really just is about calling in favors or figuring out another way to make it work. There is always a way,” Rae stated.

“Little” cast Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsia Martin with director Tina Gordon joins Spelmanite moderator Kennedy Rue-McCollough on stage.
Photo by: Aaron Crawford

The movie Little came out in theaters on Friday, Apr.12.  Hall and Martin both star as Jordan Sanders — Hall as the rich tech mogul adult version and Martin as the 13-year-old version. Rae stars as April who is Jordan Sanders’ long-suffering assistant and the only person who knows that Jordan has turned into a 13-year-old. Little was directed by Gordon.

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