In the new season of Orange is the New Black, the show highlights police brutality and injustice within the prison system in regards to women of color, a creative turn that undoubtedly can be traced to the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States, as told by The Hollywood Reporter.
“During the show’s fourth season, creator Jenji Kohan and her team of writers will continue to use Piper, commonly referred to as her “Trojan horse,” as a lens to tell untold stories of all the incarcerated women at Litchfield. The Hollywood Reporter has watched all of season four and, without spoiling specific events, the storyline will reflect Black Lives Matter after an unprecedented culture war breaks out in the overpopulated prison. The new and inexperienced guards employ levels of brutality and racial injustice that ultimately evoke the movement in an event that will impact all of the inmates.”
The incorporation of heavy political and social themes is timely. In the United States, black women (who make up the growing incarceration rate for women overall) are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence by law enforcement and prison guards, as the prison system is often a site of racial and sexual violence.
Black transgender women are regularly profiled by law enforcement, and almost half of black transgender people have been incarcerated at some point in their lives. With the creation of #SayHerName, a campaign designed to bring attention to state violence against black women and girls, the new season is poised to add to the conversation.
Actress Selenis Levya told the publication, “Danger is the underlying theme: racial tension and danger. This season is definitely going to start up conversations that we’re dealing with now. That’s the beauty of what Jenji does, with the writers. They really take things that are happening, that are current events, and deal with topics that people are afraid to really dive into. And we’re going to go there this season, especially with the prison system.”
The new season begins on June 17 on Netflix.