Spoiler alert: To announce the Season 5 return of Orange is the New Black we focussed exclusively on where Season 4 had ended: that is, with the unjust death of a beloved character, Poussey Washington, at the hands of a Litchfield Penitentiary guard.
Poussey’s death in the show was a direct reference to the real-life unjust deaths of many African Americans at the hands of authorities, and despite OITNB being more often promoted as a comedy, we knew it was essential that we respect the solemn headspace that the show’s audience had last been left in, and the seriousness of the real-life issue it had evoked.
With all that in our minds, we decided to memorialize the image of Poussey as a powerful symbol of protest and change. This took the form of eight hand-painted murals in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Chicago, Detroit and San Francisco. Not simply to promote the return of a television show, but rather, more importantly, to respect the real-life social issue Poussey's character had come to represent.
Actress Samira Wiley even weighed in on the project, saying ”I think it’s our responsibility as artists to be able to reflect the time that we’re living in. She’s a fictional character that can elicit real change in thought and action from people.”
The project created a massive amount of buzz, with coverage in the Hollywood Reporter, Refinery 29 and Entertainment Weekly among many others. It also blew up across social media, sparking a cultural conversation in addition to huge anticipation for the 5th season of the show, from both current and future OITNB fans.
Creatives: Dimitri Kalagas, Chris Cork,
Kristina Mueller, Jim Olofsson