Samira Wiley On ‘Orange Is The New Black’s’ Heartbreaking Ending And Its Relationship To Black Lives Matter

Warning: the following article contains major spoilers from Season 4 of Orange is the New Black. If you have not watched this season, and plan on doing so, do not read any further.

For those of you who have already watched Season 4, you have probably already cried your fair share of tears over the devastating ending. Watching a character be killed off a show is never easy, especially when it’s a character so many fans have grown to love, which is why it was so heartbreaking to watch Samira Wiley’s character, Poussey Washington, die the way she did. Orange is the New Black fans all over the world have expressed their outrage over Poussey’s death, but Wiley wants everyone to know that she is still here and will be going on to pursue other acting jobs.

During a recent interview with TV Guide, Samira Wiley opened up about her character’s death, and her reaction to the major plot twist. Wiley said she was just as shocked as everyone else when she found out that her character was being killed off, but was excited to be able to be a part of portraying the Black Lives Matter movement on television.

Wiley’s girlfriend, Lauren Morelli, who wrote the episode in which Poussey was killed, was the first to tell Wiley of her character’s fate. She then spoke to Jenji Kohan, Orange is the New Black’s creator, and learned why they chose Poussey over the other characters.

“I had a conversation with Jenji and the other executive producers, and they just explained to me about the whole Black Lives Matter [connection],” Samira Wiley told TV Guide.“I didn’t know exactly what the story was going to be, but I vaguely knew it was going to have to do with Black Lives Matter. And basically, they felt like they couldn’t tell this story with anyone else.

“They felt like it needed to be a character that had a bright future ahead of her, a character that everyone connected to and loved and had a good moral center and was basically just a good guy. They felt that Poussey was that, so I felt pretty honored to be able to tell this story with them.”

The emotional episode, directed by Matthew Weiner, the creator of Mad Men, showed Poussey and the rest of the inmates staging a peaceful protest in the Litchfield Penitentiary cafeteria. However, the peaceful protest soon turned to chaos after Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) lost control. Poussey rushed to help her, but instead ended up on the ground with Corrections Officer Bayley (Alan Aisenberg) pressing down on her back, ultimately suffocating her. According to the New York Times, the scene is reminiscent of the death of Eric Garner in 2014. Poussey’s body was then left on the cafeteria floor for hours before they decided to handle the situation, sending the rest of the inmates into a riot, and when they finally did address her death, Caputo refused to even say her name.

“There are people who are watching television who might not have a personal relationship with Black Lives Matter, but they know Poussey,” Wiley told The Hollywood Reporter. “What I’ve been reading online from people is just this profound sadness, something that they can’t shake away. And that is exactly what Jenji is wanting people to feel, she wants people to not be able to shake this off.”

Season 4 of Orange is the New Black is available to stream on Netflix.

[Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]