Allison Samuels is a blogger and author of the book What Would Michelle Obama Do?
(Easy answer: She’d probably throw a party or go on vacation.)
Allison Samuels of The Daily Beast wrote a column criticizing the critically acclaimed series ‘Orange Is The New Black’ for portraying black characters in prison.
“Barely a day goes by without at least one of my friends texting or emailing about the show — I’m simply not entertained by shows that feature large members of black people exiting, entering, or already in prison — I’ve never seen an episode of HBO’s acclaimed show ‘The Wire’ for exactly this reason,” said Samuels.
In her piece, she simultaneously criticizes television networks for rarely featuring African American actors in past, and Netflix for having too many of them in leading roles.
“In shows that pertain to the criminal-justice system, particularly those held behind bars, black people are suddenly ‘must haves.’”
Many online were quick to point out that Samuel’s analysis of the show is not only incorrect, but also extremely misinformed.
While Samuels seems to be under the impression that the show was cooked up by malicious white studio executives anxious for a chance to show minorities in prison, nothing could be further from the truth. The inspiration for the show came not from an LA movie studio, but from the bestselling memoirs of a woman who spent a year in prison.
“It seems to me that not watching the show is severely hampering her ability to write properly about it,” argued one of the post’s commenters.
It appears that Samuels is alone in her objections to the show. Mic writer Zerlina Maxwell argues the show has “shattered racial and gender stereotypes.” Contrary to Samuels’ reading, Zerlina praises the show for featuring “multi-dimensional black females,” “the humanity of the inmates,” and the show’s criticism of white privilege.
“Until the current criminal-justice system is reformed and states begin spending as much money on early education and inner-city school as they do to build more and more prisons, I’ll find my entertainment elsewhere,” concludes Samuels.
Luckily for the show’s producers, Samuels’ boycott is not likely to make a dent in the shows’ cult 4 million viewers.