This back-to-school season Black-ish actress and executive producer of the comedy film, Little, Marsai Martin is asking parents to prioritize booking an eye exam for their kids and spreading awareness about how much vision issues can impact a student’s ability to do well in the classroom.
At just 15 years old, Martin has already made her mark as the youngest executive producer in Hollywood history, and her work on Black-ish has even earned her ten NAACP Image Awards as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award.
When asked by theGrio what made her want to get involved with this particular initiative, Martin admits it’s personal.
“I can relate to it because I was always that kid,” she explains. “In elementary school, I had blurry vision and would always have to sit in the front of the class to actually see the board. They always had to put me in front of the classroom and I got judged for it.”
Martin says she was so uncomfortable, she reached out to her parents for help.
“Especially being a young, Black girl, it was already difficult for me to get into the flow of things in the school,” she continues. “So, when I told my parents about my struggles with my vision, they took me to the eye doctor. I had an eye exam, and then the rest is history. When I got glasses, suddenly I was dealing with a totally different battle, which was learning how be confident in what I look like now.”
The teen starlet often hears from other young people who struggle with confidence due to wearing glasses and is no stranger to taunts herself like “four eyes.” With her success, she says she has learned to embrace being a role model to her peers.
“It actually grew into something bigger than me, which is inspiring young kids to be confident in themselves. Whether it’s wearing glasses or something else, they’re getting judged for at the time. I wanted to make sure other kids knew how important it was to find the right doctor for their vision needs.”
The pint sized producer encourages her fans and their parents to log onto 2020VisionPledge.com to learn more about this campaign, noting, “the cool thing about this is those who pledge will get a chance to win free glasses for their child and their entire school.”
Now, instead of feeling self conscious, Martin says she embraces her appearance, so much so, that when designing her production company logo, she made it a point to ensure that her glasses were included.
There’s no denying that Marsai Martin is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, it may have something to do with her amazing ancestral ties.
Martin recently made headlines after it was revealed that singer and fellow actress, Janelle Monae is her cousin. However, it turns out Monae isn’t the only music icon Martin has in her bloodline. At one point during the interview she casually mentions her “Uncle Phil” who we found out to be, Philip Bailey, legendary lead singer of Earth, Wind, and Fire.
One thing is for sure, Martin is candid about how much of a support system her family has become for her through this wild ride in Hollywood.
“I don’t necessarily talk about the celebrities in my family because we are all family at the end of the day. But, having family members who are actually in the industry and who I can talk to about what I’m going through is absolutely amazing.”