This week, while riding the subway in New York City, ‘Orange Is the New Black’ star, Lea DeLaria, verbally confronted an M Train preacher. As the man went on loudly about saving the sinners with a dose of Jesus, “Big Boo,” as she is known on OITNB, met him head on. She told him “You have no right!” and “you are the reason America is in trouble,” along with a string of other tactics to silence the subway preacher.
The incident alone is noteworthy enough. But what stood out to me even more than one of my favorite ‘Orange is the New Black’ characters confronting a bigot was the national attention the act received. Thousands of articles, tweets and Facebook posts erupted online; each one with Orange Is the New Black in the headline. If I did marketing for the show, I would be over the moon!
Usually, when we focus on celebrity, it is in a salacious or demonizing fashion. We are peering into the lives of the rich and famous either to admire their glamour or tear them down when they fail. This situation was neither, and led to some amazing articles and an awesome interview on “The View.”
Now, of course, these public outbursts or personal stunts (not that I think Lea DeLaria wasn’t being genuine in her response) can’t happen all the time. That would seem silly and disingenuous. But, when it works, seeing your show’s actors openly display the positive messages and themes of the show in everyday life can lead to amazing buzz that will keep your show on everyone’s radar.
By Nicki Morris, @Nickerstrudel