For the fans of Girls and Orange Is the New Black, have we got news for you: Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee in OITNB, will be on the next season of Girls—and she’ll be the first black woman on the show.
Lena Dunham has faced much criticism over her very white cast, but she’s since defended her choices on NPR’s Fresh Air:
“I wrote the first season primarily by myself, and I co-wrote a few episodes. But I am a half-Jew, half-WASP, and I wrote two Jews and two WASPs. Something I wanted to avoid was tokenism in casting. If I had one of the four girls, if, for example, she was African-American, I feel like — not that the experience of an African-American girl and a white girl are drastically different, but there has to be specificity to that experience [that] I wasn’t able to speak to. I really wrote the show from a gut-level place, and each character was a piece of me or based on someone close to me. And only later did I realize that it was four white girls. As much as I can say it was an accident, it was only later as the criticism came out, I thought, ‘I hear this and I want to respond to it.’ And this is a hard issue to speak to because all I want to do is sound sensitive and not say anything that will horrify anyone or make them feel more isolated, but I did write something that was super-specific to my experience, and I always want to avoid rendering an experience I can’t speak to accurately.”
It will be interesting to see what role Brooks plays in the new season. Hopefully she lasts longer than Donald Glover’s character, Sandy, the black Republican.