Web series ‘Little Apple’ tells story of girl growing up in gentrified Harlem
Internet meet Little Apple, the wittiest 10-year old that you need to know. She’s really not your typical 10-year old. In fact, she’s a claircognizant girl who unapologetically oozes Black girl magic and consciousness from her pores. Created and written by Riley Wilson and played by Milan Williams, Little Apple is a new self-titled web series that tackles real-life issues of a young Black girl growing up in a changing neighborhood.
Apple comes from a contemporary Cosby-esque home with her father, Matthew, a university professor and mother, Charlene, who’s a registered nurse, so you can only imagine the brains on this kid. As she’s growing up in Harlem, New York, from an early age Apple encounters issues ranging from gentrification, Black feminism, racial microaggressions and the list goes on. Being that Apple is the primary character, is told from her perspective, which is quite interesting given that a child’s opinion is almost always completely disregarded and seldom considered.
Executive producer Lisa Cortes spoke to theGrio about the making of Little Apple, meeting and working with Wilson and Williams, and the current state of what she calls “new Harlem.” Although she was born in Connecticut, Cortes is no stranger to Harlem. She spent a majority of her youth growing up in Harlem and currently resides there along with Wilson, Williams, and the rest of the team. The seemingly unwanted changes in Harlem are happening right in front of them and heavily contributes to how the themes in the series are conveyed through Apple.
Cortes spoke briefly on why age isn’t a defining factor when it comes to these issues. “Milan herself is very smart and wise. But I think about why we have bodegas everywhere and now all of a sudden there’s a Whole Foods opening up on the corner of 125th Street and Lenox? You don’t have to be 14-yrs old [or and adult] to have a field of reference or to see that with a changing landscape, there’s a change in opportunities that our community should have had access to from years ago,” she says.
“I think that kids are much smarter than we give them credit for. Milan on her own in her family has been exposed to very sophisticated conversation for a long time. She’s also spent a year talking with Riley and exploring these issues.”
Whether it was done intentionally or not, Wilson is utilizing this series to encourage fellow people of color, and others, to start engaging not only adults, but also children in the discourse about these issues. Lisa stated, “I grew up with parents who told you real talk about real issues. That’s what’s happening in many homes, not just in Harlem. These conversations that we need to have with our children are national. In terms of preparing them for the disparities that others might try to put upon them.”
Awareness is key when it comes with this web series and Apple’s supernatural abilities goes beyond the norm in an unceasing effort to wake everyone up. Wilson and the team are currently in the works of bringing this character to life and they are running a campaign to help fund the project. The plan is to shoot five episodes in July once they reach their $15,000 goal.
Also, leading up to the release of the web series, both Wilson and Williams are releasing podcasts to discuss the themes explored in the series while simultaneously giving the audience a chance to meet with the cast. To learn more about the fundraising campaign check out their Kickstarter, where they’ve already surpassed their goal.