“Orange is the New Black” (OITNB) has redeemed itself in season 4 after season 3 failed to live up to viewer’s expectations. The current season showcases a range of emotions which leaves viewers feeling angry, outraged and pessimistic about issues that are affecting the nation, particularly African-Americans.
“Orange is the New Black” is a show on Netflix which chronicles the lives of a several women who are incarcerated in an upstate New York prison.
Samira Wiley, better known as Poussey Washington in “OINTB,” dies in the twelfth episode after a peaceful cafeteria protest gets out of hand and the correctional officers begin to use excessive force to remove the women inmates from the cafeteria.
Poussey, who was a part of the peaceful protest, is forced to ground by a correctional officer. Wiley’s co-star Uzo Aduba, known as Crazy Eyes in “OITNB,” tries to remove the officer off of Poussey’s back, but is unsuccessful.
Poussey keeps saying, “I can’t breathe,” as the viewer watches her die.
On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, a 43- year old, African-American male, was choked to death by a New York City Police Department (NYCPD) officer, Daniel Pantaleo, after being put in a chokehold for approximately 15 seconds. Garner repeatedly told officers “I can’t breathe.”
The death of Eric Garner, is one of many instances of police violence against African-Americans that sparked the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.
“There are people every day who we lose. And especially, with the Black Lives Matter thing, there have been so many people who we’ve lost and there’s people in our country who don’t have any connection to that. They don’t know a Black person, or the only reference they have are people on TV. … And these people who are watching television who might not have a personal relationship with Black Lives Matter, they know Poussey,” Samira Wiley told People Magazine.
Poussey’s lifeless body is left on the cafeteria floor for more than a day as the prison’s board of directors tries to find negative information on Poussey, in an attempt to cover up the officer’s killing.
On August 9, 2014, in Ferguson Missouri, 18-year old Michael Brown, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson, after an alleged altercation. Brown’s body lay in the middle of Ferguson Street for 4 hours, before medical examiners came to retrieve the body.
The tension and death of Poussey leads to a prison uprising after the warden defends his untrained officer actions and fails to mention Poussey’s name.
“OINTB” is one of several shows that have brought more awareness of the “Black Lives Matter” movement recently either directly or indirectly including “Black-ish,” “Scandal,” “The Good Wife,” and “South Park.”
Season 4 of OINTB is currently available on Netflix.