If you’re one of the many who spent the weekend binge-watching the just-released fifth season of “Orange Is the New Black”, then it shouldn’t be surprising that one of the series’ most beloved fan-favourite characters is Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, played by actress Danielle Brooks.
However, Brooks may not be sticking with the show for much longer, revealing in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that she doesn’t see herself continuing with “OITNB” beyond season seven if the Netflix hit were to be renewed for an eighth (Netflix has already committed to seasons six and seven, but no decisions have yet been made beyond that).
“We have until seven for sure,” Brooks tells EW. “To be honest, I don’t know if I want to play an inmate past that. I don’t know if I want to do that because I have a lot in me and a lot that I want to share with the world and different characters I want to be able to bring to life. After seven, I think it might be time for me to spread my wings, but I don’t want to speak too fast on that.”
Meanwhile, Brooks discusses Taystee’s political awakening during the fifth season, which finds the women of Litchfield Penitentiary taking control of the prison following the accidental death of Poussey (Samira Wiley) at the hands of inexperienced guard Baxter “Gerber” Bayley (Alan Eisenberg).
“You know, Taystee goes on that journey this season of really fighting for justice and trying to have Bayley locked up, because in her eyes he is a criminal and for that to not happen says a lot,” says Brooks, describing how the events at Litchfield are mirroring real-life events.
“I just find it brave of the writers to go in that direction instead of just choosing to have this patched up, happy-go-lucky, tied-in-a-nice bow ending, because that’s the thing: We’re still dealing with issues like that. It’s not over,” she adds. “The fight for realizing that all lives do matter — specifically, black lives mattering — is not over.”