The leading ladies of “Little” alongside the director, Tina Gordon, and producer, Will Packer, made sure to stop by Spelman College on April 4, to take part in a special discussion about the film, navigating the entertainment industry as Black creatives, and the importance of determination when following your dreams.
Issa Rae, Regina Hall, and Marsai Martin, who actually conceptualized the film and served as its executive producer, all visited Spelman as the comedy’s as the main cast members.
The highly anticipated film is gaining a ton of traction throughout the nation, breaking boundaries prior to the release date of April 12; resulting in Martin becoming Hollywood’s youngest executive producer at the age of 14.
“Our power is in support not in division and you guys (the audience) are amazing since you have the power to support each other,” Hall said. “That’s what is so great about this project, we got to support each other in all different aspects and that’s what also made it a joyful thing to be a part of.”
In the film, Hall and Martin both portray Jordan Sanders— Hall as the take-no-prisoners tech mogul adult version of Sanders and Martin as the 13-year-old version of her who wakes up in her adult self’s penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation.
Rae plays Sander’s long-suffering assistant who also happens to be the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped inside an awkward tween body just as everything is on the line.
Gordon joked about how having a panel discussion at Spelman College about her film “Little” was a full circle moment for her since she got denied from the institution years ago. She shared her advice on listening to that positive voice inside your head when discourage begins to creep into your mind.
“It sounds simple, be yourself, but it takes so long to hear that voice versus all of the other voices that are telling you that you can’t do this, nobody’s done that before, you’re not from the right place to do that, watching someone else’s life on social media and judging yours against that. It’s a long process to hear that still voice,” Gordon said. “Even when someone says no to you, you have to hear the right voice in your head that says keep going.
The entertainment industry can be extremely difficult to break into, especially as Black women. Yet, there is so much creativity and talent intertwined throughout Black communities that don’t get the opportunity to be shared because doubt is such an easy disadvantage to consume the mind.
“The first step I had to take in my career would probably be just investing in myself,” Rae said. “I doubt myself a lot. My head is constantly filled with questions. I had to get rid of that doubt and realize that no one else is going to do it for you unless you do it.”
“No one else is going to give you a chance, for me it was always about recognizing that. Early on, I did try to put myself in networking parties and put myself closer to someone like a Spike Lee and just magically hope that they would recognize talent. I just have to do the work, make it happen for myself and see what happens after that.”
In addition, this film teaches the valuable lesson of you’re never too young to follow your dreams and support your passions. Martin is the perfect example of that. Of course, doing the undone at a young can be tricky since there’s really no set path but trailblazing has its incentives at the end of the road.
“During the process of creating ‘Little,’ I was 10-years-old at the time,” Martin said. “People would see me and automatically be like no. I’m literally just a 10-year-old girl who’s still in school, no one’s going to talk to me or listen to what I’m trying to say.”
“I feel like it’s important when you stick to the right people and the people that you trust, which are my parents, my family and Kenya Barris, who is the creator of Black-ish. I grew up with them, then adding Will Packer to the mix and them hearing my story made me feel more confident in myself.”