At the young age of 16, actress Marsai Martin has made history as the youngest Hollywood executive producer on a major studio production. Now, with her new series Saturdays, Martin is ready to break ground on the Disney channel with a cast full of Brown-skinned girls.
“It was difficult,” the Black-Ish star admitted while speaking with Essence. “I’m not gonna lie. It’s difficult in every single thing that we try to do. We’re breaking boundaries, we’re breaking down things a lot of people in the industry that’ve been here for years don’t see and that’s the goal here.” Through her career as an actress and self-made business owner, Martin is often praised as a trailblazer for young Black women. The young mogul credits her parents for teaching her how to fight to be represented.
“Me and my family, we are fighters, especially my mother and father,” Martin shared. “We have a really strong team that pushes through and makes sure that we get what we want at the end of the day which is recognition and making sure we’re seen, our audience is seen — my audience sees themselves.”
Martin’s new series tackles a story that has yet to be told through a series on the Disney channel. Saturdays follows 13-year-old Paris Johnson (played by Danielle Jalade) who lives with sickle cell anemia while having a love for roller skating. Through Paris’s journey, she shows viewers that you can follow your dreams despite whatever health ailments might try and hold you back. Her parents are played by Omar Gooding and Golden Brooks, Jermaine Harris plays her older brother and Daria Johns and Samantha Smith play Paris’ best friends.
“It’s gonna make a lot of people mad,” Martin admitted. “That’s the thing about being producers and having our own company, we gotta make some hard and tough decisions and talk to people about what we want so they can see it at the end of the tunnel. They’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.” But through the ups and downs,” Martin says she’s “here for the long run and we make sure we do what we love at the end of the day.”