We are living in a time in which the media has brought the appropriation, consumption and annihilation of Black and brown culture front and center. We are flooded as adults with such triggering imagery and conversation, but one thing we continuously fail to address is how it’s affecting the most vulnerable and inquisitive audience: our children.
Enter Little Apple, a new live-action sci/fi drama in development about a nine-year-old claircognizant (all-knowing) Black girl growing up in present-day Harlem, N.Y. Created by Riley Wilson, Apple’s story is one of a little Black girl with very big ideas and opinions on social justice issues such as racism, gentrification, and misogyny.
The executive director and producer is currently raising money to bring the show to life on Kickstarter. In a conversation with CASSIUS, he said he feels like we need representations like Apple’s now more than ever.
“We’re living in a space where the society is very anti-Black and anti-female,” Wilson said. “There’s a need for the imagery of having an opinionated, strong, passionate, and intelligent Black girl in the lead for anything. When I think about how often the world mistreats Black women and women of color in general, it’s a radical statement to drive Apple to the forefront.”
‘When I think about how often the world mistreats Black women and women of color in general, it’s a radical statement to drive Apple to the forefront.’
Wilson has been able to see this very idea come to life through his work Milan Williams, the young actress who plays Apple. Although Williams had no previous knowledge of social justice ideology before, Wilson has been adamant about helping her understand what would normally be deemed as topics that are “too advanced for kids.”
“When I brought her on, she didn’t know what gentrification was or misogyny, but she knew how to portray it based on my directions,” he said. “I saw this as an opportunity to push the message of consciousness among kids from a fictional standpoint but also a realistic one. It is really possible to have a dialogue with kids about this.”
As someone with a background in communications, the Howard University alum is always paying attention to the impact social media has on racial and social justice, how it’s affected the movement, and how the same sorts of effects are not just directed towards adults. He wants to use his work to engage kids in the conversation about things they’re already witnessing on a daily basis.
“I see children being thrust into consciousness with the same content adults are consuming, whether that’s hearing conversations about stop and frisk or all of the trending social media content on violence against Black bodies,” he said. “How do we give them authority to speak about their experiences or speak truth to the power plays they are seeing or influencing their every day lives?”
While Wilson has reached slightly over half his $15,000 goal, he emphasizes the need for Apple’s story to be told. In order to encourage the future thought-leaders, politicians, and activists of our world, it’s crucial that we don’t dismiss their innate ability to absorb and comprehend issues that ultimately still effect them.
“Little Apple opens up the conversation a lot more when it comes to racial and social justice,” he said. “It presents an opportunity for not just kids, but parents to have real dialogue about how racial and social justice impact their every day lives.”