First of all, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS ahead. Seriously, if you haven’t seen episode 12 of the fourth season of Orange Is The New Black, then do not read anything below the panda GIF. Click out of this, go home, and catch up. I’ll wait.
Okay, now that we’re all on the same page (and also crying) we can talk about Poussey Washington’s tragic death. The character, who was accidentally killed by a guard after attempting to save Suzanne, was one of the most beloved on the show, and when Samira Wiley, the actress who so expertly brought her to life, spoke to Entertainment Weekly, she revealed that she was “completely shocked.”
“They came and talked to me before we started the season,” she explained. “So I actually knew for months before the rest of the cast did which means I had to keep it a secret from people that I work with every single day. That was hard.”
While the news was definitely devastating to the fans of the show, Samira firmly believes it needed to happen.
“I feel so honored to be able to be the one who is trusted to tell this story,” she said. “[The executive producers] talked about how beloved my character is and—the way I think about Poussey – is that she, out of anyone, has so much potential for a life outside of prison. So to see something like this happen to her? They wanted it to hurt.“
And it did, especially because it had so many parallels with recent events in real life. “Some people turn a blind eye to things that go on in our prisons and in our world and Black Lives Matter and all of that,” Samira continued, going on to say that the scene was “an homage, in a way, of Eric Garner’s death.”
While we don’t think we’ll be recovering from Poussey’s death any time soon, Samira wants us to know that everything is okay.
“I’m still here!” she joked. “I’m still alive, I’m still good. I’m looking forward to working in movies and I’m going to be here. I’m okay.”
We’re sad Samira is leaving Orange Is The New Black, but we’re so excited to see what’s next!