Danielle Brooks and Samira Wiley fill the same adorable friendship in real life that their characters, Taystee Jefferson and Poussey Washington, achieve in “Orange Is the fresh Black.”
“She actually, in college, helped me sail into the dorms,” Brooks said during a panel discussion this week at fresh York’s 92Y, prompting a chorus of “aww” from the assembled fans. (”I know, right?” the actress responded.)
So when the subject of Poussey’s Season 4 death came up, Brooks expressed well-wishes for her friend, who wasn’t onstage but has since gone on to seem in Hulu’s smash-hit “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Brooks shared one other hope for Wiley, too ― that her character’s shocking and emotional death by a poorly trained prison guard could encourage viewers understand what it’s like to see a friend or family member die a similarly unjustified death at the hands of police.
“This is one of those things I just pray so tough approximately,” the actress said. “We present so much esteem to a fictional character like Poussey, and I just want us to retract a moment and really care the same approximately people that are really losing people like that in this world.”
The actress spoke approximately the parallels between Litchfield and real life, which witnessed a spate of black Americans’ controversial deaths by police officers in 2016, inspiring continued activism around the Black Lives Matter movement around the time “Orange Is the fresh Black” crew were filming Season 5.
“It made the stakes that much greater,” Brooks said. “You feel responsibility to the people that fill really gone through those things.”
In the aftermath of the Season 4 finale, Wiley explained how her character’s death was meant to provoke a strong response from fans who were charmed by her optimism and seemingly colorful future.
“What I’ve been reading online from people is just this profound sadness, something that they can’t shake absent,” Wiley told The Hollywood Reporter final June. “And that is precisely what Jenji is wanting people to feel, she wants people to not be able to shake this off.”
In Season 5, Poussey’s death leads to an perfect-out riot as prisoners rebel against brutalist tactics by guards.
The whole season is now streaming on Netflix.