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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 17th August 2018 > Danielle Brooks

Danielle Brooks


Illustration by BRITT SPENCER

GEORGIA-BORN, JUILLIARD-TRAINED, TONY AWARD–NOMINATED DANIELLE Brooks left theater to do two episodes of Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is the New Black in 2013. That quickly turned into a regular gig, as fan favorite Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson. After the fever-dream anarchy of Season 5’s prison riots, the ladies of Litchield Penitentiary meet hard reality in Season 6; now in a maximum security facility, they frantically make plea bargains to avoid extended sentences. The blame falls heaviest on Taystee, who saw the rebellion as an opportunity to demand justice after a guard killed her best friend, Poussey (played by Brooks’s Juilliard classmate Samira Wiley). But even as her trial becomes a rallying cause for Black Lives Matter, the usually optimistic and resilient Taystee, now in solitary coninement, is skeptical that a jury can ind sympathy for someone like her, a product of the system. “Her life has just been so devastatingly hard”, Brooks tells Newsweek. “There are so many people like Taystee, who are truly living that, day in and day out.”

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