Get Lit: A Q&A with Marcus Littles

Luminare Group is passionate about serving as a platform to elevate diverse voices in our field. In 2019, Luminare Group has selected 10 guest editors for our monthly Be Lumin-Us newsletter. We also feature their work or Q&A’s on this blog.

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Marcus Littles is a visionary leader, sought-after thought partner, and organizational strategist.

Marcus' experience and expertise include organizational development and behavior; enterprise development and sustainability; and leadership support and development. His subject-matter expertise is deepest in the areas of intersectional equity, youth leadership and organizing, and network theory.

Littles is an experienced social entrepreneur. In 2006, he founded Frontline Solutions, one of the country’s foremost Black-owned management consulting firms, that serves the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. He is also a founding Board member of Activest. Marcus has authored and contributed to numerous publications, and serves on a number of boards of social impact organizations and enterprises. Littles is a sought after facilitator, speaker and strategist in the social change sector.

A Q&A with Marcus Littles

What idea/practice are you most in love with currently? Why?

Singing a song with my 3 year-old son each night just before ‘sleepy time’ is my favorite time of each day! I have had numerous night time routines to end my days over the years. Prayer, meditation, stretching, push-up’s, social media, ice cream and name a few. I still pray...meditate occasionally...spend a little too much time on Instagram at night...I broke up with ice cream at night and get most of my sports news online and via podcasts. But, I get so much joy and hope and optimism every time my little person sings with me. Sometimes we sing the Lord’s Prayer...sometimes we sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...and most recently we’ve added Mi Gente from Beyonce’s Homecoming album to our repertoire.

I know that one day my kid may no longer enjoy singing with me at night. One day soon he may realize how bad a singer his father is. And even though I don’t want to face this possibility, one day he may not enjoy any sort of night time routine with his dad. But, as for now, there are few things that equal my nightly duets with my son. In those moments, we are both completely free. Free from the insidiousness of racism, free from the seduction of patriarchy and capitalism, and free from doubt or pain or fear… And so, I will enjoy this practice every night that I possibly can, with hopes that he remembers them as fondly as his dad does.

If you could do one thing for a day (and be good at it), what would it be?

I would write down or record the hundreds of stories of dynamic movement leaders, colleagues, young people, elder, organizations, enterprises and citizens on the front lines of Black liberation.

Every day for nearly 14 years at Frontline Solutions, I have been granted the gift of building with, growing with, and learning from scores of colleagues, clients and communities. Our clients have ranged from elite university systems to volunteer-led neighborhood organizing collaboratives to international philanthropic foundations to legacy civil rights groups. We have been afforded the opportunity and responsibility of supporting and learning from some of the most amazing leaders and advocates in the world.

For one day...or maybe two or three...I would love to have the superpower of the pen and keyboard to tell the stories of the people who I contend are the heartbeats of our collective power. Color of Change has a podcast entitled, #TellBlackStories. That title best describes my wish for my one day, that I would do justice in telling the hundreds of stories our people doing liberatory acts or advancing a liberatory agenda for Black people in the country and the Diaspora.

What makes you smile every time?

  • My wedding video

  • The entire Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album

What do you want to do more of this year?

Sleep more and play more.

Less of?

Worry less.

What’s an unlikely place you turn to when you need inspiration?

Sister Act 2 - I cry every time. I’m not completely sure why. But, every time I watch Sister Act 2 (and after I wipe the tears off of my face), I’m ready to take on the world!

If you could make everyone read one thing (book, article, etc.), what would it be? Why?

Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman - I read this book every few years. It always challenges and refines my perspectives of empathy and service; spirituality, the morality of justice, and power. It also centers a theology that centers love and justice, juxtaposed to centering judgement and exclusion. Regardless of one’s faith tradition and/or beliefs, Jesus and the Disinherited is brilliantly enlightening and inspiring.

What’s a word or name you never want to hear again?


What song can you not stay still to when you hear it?

1960 What? by Gregory Porter

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