Fans of Orange Is The New Black come in all shapes and sizes; host of Power 105’s ‘The Breakfast Club’ and star of MTV’s ‘Charlamagne & Friends’, the fantastically outspoken Charlamagne Tha God has an opinion on everything – and isn’t afraid to express it. Here, the man who told Kanye that Yeezus was wack – to Yeezy’s face - breaks down exactly what makes OITNB so special and why Netflix stays winning….
I love this show. I first heard about it through people talking about it via social media. I saw people tweeting about ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and I was a little confused. They were saying ‘I’m bingeing on OITNB’ and I was like, ‘Bingeing on what, what the hell are you talking about’? When I finally figured out it was a TV show, I heard my homegirl on MTV talking about it in the office and I asked her about it. She’s like, ‘Oh my god, it’s so good, you have to watch it’. Put it like this, they talked about that show so much that I bought Netflix just to watch Orange Is The New Black. I was hooked. I was into it from the first couple of episodes simply because I’ve never seen that perspective told before. I’m always interested in different perspectives. You always see the world through one view; the male point of view. That’s why I loved that old movie, Set It Off. It was just another story about a group of bankrobbers, but it was from a female perspective. And not just a female perspective; you had Queen Latifah who was a lesbian in the movie. Same thing with OITNB, it’s a whole new world and it’s not just the world of these girls in prison, it’s showing the world that these girls came from, what led them to end up in prison. It’s dope! And it’s very complex. There are a lot of layers to OITNB. Like even the guys, the officers who work in the jail, taking advantage of the girls and having sex with them and the lesbian relationships that develop in jail. I love Piper’s situation cos she’s like getting married and she really wasn’t a criminal anymore but her past came back to haunt her. Piper is my favourite character, and I like Taystee. I like that whole crew; the other one with the short hair, Poussey, I like their whole dynamic, when they be rapping together and fooling around. It shows you all sides of prison life; it’s not 100% downs. I like Piper and I like her girlfriend, Alex. I would love to have a ménage with Piper and Alex. Every time I see them going at it, I think how I would love to be in the middle of that.
“People talked about that show so much that I bought Netflix just to watch Orange Is The New Black…”
As someone who’s been to jail several times before - I did a year one time when I was young and dumb - I wouldn’t even want to think about having to go to jail at this point in my life. There is no way to mentally prepare yourself for prison. If you’ve never been to jail then I can’t even explain it to you but there’s no way - no way - to mentally prepare yourself for prison. You can get ready to go a lot of places; you can get ready to go to church, to the mall, on vacation but there is no getting ready for prison. I did my year in County rather than a prison like Litchfield, but it looks like a very real depiction to me. I felt like I was doing Piper’s bid with her! That’s the beauty of that show too; you feel these people the most. At least I do. Even with Pentocky, Pentucky, Pencocky, whatever her name is [Pensatucky], I started to feel sorry for her! Even though she was trying to kill Piper at the end and Piper beat the shit out of her, I felt sorry for her because she’s so into God but she ain’t got a clue of what God really is, clearly.
“You always see the world through one view; the male point of view. That’s why I love OITNB. There are a lot of layers to OITNB.”
Do I think OITNB is going to help culturally, in terms of homophobia in Hip Hop? No. For whatever reason, in Hip Hop we don’t look at lesbians in the same way as we look at homosexual males. So when they look at lesbians they think it’s hot, they encourage it, they want to see girl on girl. I mean, how many times have you heard a rapper say ’My girl gotta girlfriend’. But they aren't going for that if it was male? Hip Hop is still very ignorant when it comes to male homosexuality, they look at it differently. Even with the transgender woman, Laverne Cox, I think people look at it with a shrug like ‘Oh it’s woman, she’s a lesbian’. They totally understand it, I don’t think people are ignorant.
You know what’s crazy? That show can’t lose and that’s because of Netflix, you can binge watch, I watched Season One all in one go over a few days and I’ve not seen it since then. So now I’m waiting to see if Piper killed Pensatucky and the fact that you can binge watch something – I don’t have to wait 13 weeks for it to pan out. There’s really no way to kill it. If I watch the first episode and I’m like ’Ah, it’s alright’ and then I watch the second one and I’m like ‘That was better’ and the third was just alright, by the fourth week I’m like ‘OITNB is wack this season, it ain’t as good as the first season’ and I’m going to give up by week four. My interest has gone. But when I binge watch, I can take it all in, in its totality. It can’t lose! I’m just going to sit and watch it pretty much in two, three sittings. You could argue with a HBO show, for example, it’s a conversation every week online or at the proverbial water cooler, and so OITNB could lose conversational momentum. But it’s the same thing with OITNB cos as you’re watching it, you’re tweeting and talking about it. We’ll see tweets about it all weekend this weekend. Whereas if it’s on every weekend, not everybody has time to sit down and do that each week. It creates a conversation, but it’s an ongoing conversation instead of a once weekly conversation. I’m telling you, Netflix and OITNB Will. Not. Lose.