Danielle Brooks and Adrienne C. Moore Think Orange Is the New Black Could Change the World

When I first walked into the hotel room where I'd be interviewing Orange Is the New Black actresses Danielle Brooks and Adrienne C. Moore in late March, I heard laughter. Boisterous, happy laughter. Brooks, wearing a fluffy, white hotel robe and eating apple slices, chuckled away while Moore belted out a song, and although I wasn't in on their joke, it was hard not to want to smile right along with them. Brooks and Moore radiate the same kind of genuine closeness that makes watching their onscreen counterparts, Taystee and Cindy, so captivating and why thousands of people will be binge-watching the new season of Netflix's addicting prison drama this week. In between bouts of banter that felt just as hilarious and illuminating as anything that might be said between Cindy and Taystee in Litchfield's cafeteria, they discussed their characters, OITNB's stellar fourth season, and why the show just might have the power to change the world.


POPSUGAR: Can you tell me a little bit about the overarching theme that Jenji crafted this season around?

Danielle Brooks: Basically, this season goes deeper into race again and dealing with issues of Black Lives Matter, and the I Can’t Breathe Movement. It goes there. I think it's wonderful, because the audience will be left really wanting to do something, because the same way that they have invested in these characters is how we should invest in our world. I’m hoping that the work that we’ve done will help to change the world.

Adrienne C. Moore: We also continue the conversation on political corruption and privatization within the prison system and how, from an external perspective, how the name of the game is how much money you can bring to the table or how much you can get. And then from the internal perspective, how it affects the inmates when there's issues of overcrowding, when there's issues of the meals not being up to par. Also, with healthcare. So we deal with that, and even from the perspective of the guards, those who watch out for us. Their struggle is that they live in both worlds — they live outside the prison and inside the prison.

DB: They're a little incarcerated themselves.

AM: Yeah, so they see what's going on and how they want to affect that change, but their hands are tied because they have a higher boss to answer to. Season four definitely deals more with those issues, especially racism.


PS: Last season, we got to see Cindy become way more complex and really fleshed out as a character, thanks to some flashbacks and her experience converting to Judaism. How does her new religion continue to play a part in her life?

AM: You definitely see how the conversion affects her this season and how it interplays with both the relationships with her current cliques of girls and those that are not in her circle. With Cindy — I think with all of us — when we're introduced to a new concept, a new world, a different way of understanding, it’s how we adjust to that and how it affects us. You know, some days we have our good days, and some days we revert back to what we’re familiar with. So she definitely has that interplay going on this season.


PS: What's the biggest thing fans need to know before streaming season four?

DB: I’d just say, be prepared. This will be the first time you watch a television show and you need to be prepared.

AM: It's gonna hit you in ways . . . there were definitely moments in this season where I literally was just floored. Just reading the script, my jaw was on the floor. I was crying.

DB: And there were moments, not even just crying, but like, "Did that just happen?!"

AM: Yeah, like, what the eff.

DB: You’re going to have to pause the television and have a moment of silence.