As a show that paints a compassionate, eye-opening portrait of life in prison, Orange Is The New Black has always had real-world salience, but it sounds like its newest outing could be its most resonant yet. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, star Danielle Brooks said she hopes OITNB Season 5 will inspire young fans to push for change in their communities by whatever means they can, and her message couldn't come at a more pivotal time — for the women of Litchfield and viewers alike.
For Brooks' character, Taystee, taking action means getting justice for her best friend, Poussey, who was killed by a guard in Season 4, as well as rising up against the unjust treatment she and her fellow inmates have been forced to bear for too long. Taystee is unsure how to best press forward, but she does it anyway — a fact that speaks powerfully to the activism unfurling in real life. Brooks told EW,
“You see somebody who really has little resources, has lost everything that she has, but she’s going to find a way to fight even though she doesn’t really have a clue what she’s doing."
She went on to say that she hopes Taystee's story will remind people that they can "find a way to change their community" even if they "don’t know what [they're] doing.”
It's a sentiment that plenty of Americans will likely be able to identify with. President Donald Trump built his campaign around helping the disenfranchised working class, but his policies have seemingly alienated other marginalized communities: immigrants, minorities, women. Amidst our current political climate — one in which even Trump's most egregious behavior has been repeatedly and inexplicably swept aside — it can be easy to feel unwelcome or incapable or helpless.
But the only way to fight is to continue to stand up, speak out, and use our voices in whatever way we can. The louder we are, the harder it will be to silence us. It may seem odd to get all that from a TV show, but in today's society, I'll take all the empowerment I can get.