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Poussey Washington was a main character on Orange is the New Black until her death in Season Four. She was an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary and was portrayed by Samira Wiley

PersonalityEdit

Poussey was an intelligent, outspoken, and caring woman who stood by her convictions. She liked to joke around with her fellow inmates and tended to avoid confrontation and violence.  

Physical Appearance Edit

Poussey was petite, weighing only 92 pounds. She had a slender figure and short black hair.

BiographyEdit

Before Litchfield Edit

For a list of episodes featuring Poussey's flashbacks, see here.

Poussey had a very close relationship with her mother, who had a Master's degree in Art History. When she was a child, they would read together before going to bed ("Mother's Day").

Oitnb0602

Poussey and her German girlfriend, Franzi

Poussey was a "military brat," as her father, James P. Washington, was a General in the United States Army. He moved the family to Hohenfels, Bavaria, Germany where he was stationed. While in Hohenfels, Poussey had a relationship with a German commander's daughter named Franziska, nickname Franzi. The relationship was revealed to Franzi's father when he walked in on her and Poussey having sex. He then used his influence to get Poussey's father reassigned to a post in the United States. Poussey tried to suppress her feelings to no avail. Eventually she confronted the Oberstleutnant and attempted to pull out a gun. Her father stopped her and announced his acceptance of her sexuality ("You Also Have a Pizza").

[Flashbacks from "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again" need adding]

Season One Edit

Poussey has been in prison for two years at the start of the series with four years to go. Her mother died during her second year in prison, as revealed in "Fool Me Once".

Poussey is a good-natured jokester and is often seen with her best friend, Taystee, working together in the library or joking around in the rec room or mess hall.

Poussey gives her friends a bottle of her toilet hooch to help them mourn the death of Tricia Miller, revealing her kind nature ("...").

Season Two Edit

It is implied that Poussey is in love with Taystee, but the feelings are not mutual.

Vee approaches Poussey about selling her toilet hooch, but Poussey rejects this idea because she prefers to share it with her friends. She punishes Poussey over this perceived lack of loyalty and loss of potential business by exploiting her unreciprocated romantic feelings for Taystee to isolate her from the tribe, causing a rift in Poussey and Taystee's relationship ("A Whole Other Hole").

Poussey is one of the few black inmates immune to Vee's manipulation tactics and she begins a campaign to fight Vee's influence and actions throughout the season. At one point, Suzanne threatens and physically assaults her on Vee's non-verbal command, which causes deep emotional trauma. Eventually, a drunk Poussey causes irreparable damage to Vee's tobacco business by stomping on several tins of tobacco and pouring bleach on them. Realizing that Poussey cannot be intimidated, Vee decides to mollify her by ejecting Taystee from the gang. Poussey and Taystee later make up after a final confrontation in the library.

Season Three Edit

On Mother's Day, Poussey is overcome by the memories of her deceased mother, after which she begins to develop an interest in Gloria and Norma's spiritualism.

Poussey becomes depressed and turns to alcohol. She also immerses herself in Suzanne's new sci-fi erotica Time Hump Chronicles. She realizes that she feels so sad because she is lonely without a girlfriend. Taystee reassures her that she will always be there for Poussey, but Poussey states that would not be enough.

Poussey discovers Soso in the library after the latter overdoses on antihistamines. She nurses Soso back to health with Taystee and Suzanne's help. After this incident, Soso is accepted by the Black Girls as one of their own. Later, Poussey and Soso are seen holding hands and joking around on the beach behind Litchfield, implying a budding relationship ("Trust No Bitch").

S4 Trailer Poussoso

Season FourEdit

Poussey is overjoyed when her favorite celebrity chef Judy King is sent to Litchfield. Judy was initially assigned to Poussey's bunk in the Ghetto, but Healy quickly removes Judy to find her a white roommate. Poussey is frequently tongue-tied around the friendly Judy, leaving her bemused. At the same time, a romantic relationship between Poussey and Soso develops throughout Season Four, though it was temporarily jeopardized when Soso told Judy King an offensive and stereotypical narrative of Poussey's background to explain Poussey's seemingly odd behavior around Judy. Later, Poussey and Soso realize that this situation happened because the two do not know each other very well. They resolve to get to know each other's backgrounds.

Poussey is accidentally suffocated by CO Bayley at the end of Season Four during an initially peaceful demonstration in the cafeteria. To protest Captain Piscatella's treatment of the inmates, inmates stood on tables and demanded his resignation. Suzanne becomes upset after additional guards are called as back up, and Poussey attempts to de-escalate the situation. Piscatella orders Bayley to restrain Suzanne and escort her to psych, and in the scuffle he improperly restrains Poussey face down while kneeling on her back. Suzanne continues to struggle with Bayley while putting all of his weight on Poussey, who is unable to breathe. Poussey is accidentally suffocated due to compression asphyxia from Bayley kneeing on her back ("The Animals").

After Bayley is pulled off Poussey, the inmates and staff realize that Poussey is not moving. Piscatella calls for a medic, and Taystee pushes through the crowd to Poussey's body on the floor. Taystee begins to sob as she curls up next to Poussey on the floor while others look on in shock. Piscatella orders lock down in which all inmates are confined to their bunks, TV and phone calls are blacked out, and guards corroborate their version of events. Angered by the morally questionable response to events, Caputo sends Piscatella home, debriefs Bayley, and contacts MCC. It becomes apparent to Caputo, staff, and inmates, that no response plan exists to address a death in general population; Poussey's body is left on the cafeteria floor for a day until the coroner arrives. Poussey's death is even more heart-rending when it is revealed that she was in prison only as a non-violent offender; she had been convicted of trespassing and possession with intent to sell less than a half ounce of unspecified drugs, probably marijuana, according to her backstory in this same episode.

Inmates and staff alike appear shaken by Poussey's death. Norma comforts Soso by rocking and singing to her, and Soso later gets drunk off the remainder of the contraband hooch. Inmates stop by a makeshift memorial, donating food and giving their condolences. Caputo contacts Poussey's father, and is visibly upset at having to do so.

Season Five Edit

Poussey's death continues to be a central issue in this season. Justice for her is one of the main demands of the prison riot.

She is seen in a flashback episode, which shows Taystee's first day at Litchfield and how they became friends.

RelationshipsEdit

FriendsEdit

  • Taystee - Taystee and Poussey are best friends with a shared love of literature. They often joke around as Amanda and Mackenzie, their "rich white girl" alter egos. Poussey has obvious romantic feelings for Taystee, who is unsure if she feels the same way. In Season 2, Taystee joins Vee's gang selling cigarettes and encourages Poussey to join too. When things sour between Poussey and Vee, the friendship between Poussey and Taystee strains and eventually breaks after Taystee is booted from Vee's gang because of Poussey's sabotage. The girls finally settle their differences after a physical confrontation in the library and resume their close friendship. After Poussey's death, Taystee tries to ensure she gets justice.
  • Janae Watson - Poussey and Janae share a bunk, and Poussey is known to defend her, especially when it comes to Janae spending inordinate amounts of time in the SHU. When Janae was sent to the SHU for possessing cigarettes in her bunk and returned after a month, Poussey tried to smack some sense into her.
  • Black Cindy - While Taystee was out of prison and Watson was spending time in the SHU, Cindy and Poussey were seen hanging out quite often. They are both part of the core group of black inmates, and are often seen laughing and joking together.
  • Nicky Nichols - In Season One, Poussey and the other black girls brought Nicky and her gang a bottle of toilet hooch with some assorted food items, to help with the mourning of Tricia Miller. In the library, Nicky is seen asking Poussey for a cigarette. When the alarm goes off and they lie on the floor, Nicky passes the time by advising Poussey about her unrequited love for Taystee. Later, Poussey witnesses Taystee forcing heroin on Nicky, a recovering addict, and becomes visibly upset by this.
  • Brook Soso - During the third season, Poussey is the only one of Norma's followers to offer Soso sympathy, and calls the others out on bullying her; though she stops defending her when Soso starts acting rude in retaliation to bullying. At the end of the season, Poussey, along with Taystee and the others in their group, save Soso's life after her suicide attempt. In the last episode, Poussey reaches out to Soso and takes her hand while swimming in the lake and pulls her into her social circle where the other black girls welcome her.
  • Alison Abdullah
  • Sophia Burset
  • Norma Romano (former)
  • Judy King

RomanticEdit

  • Taystee (unrequited crush during Season 2 and earlier)
  • Brook Soso (girlfriend) - After becoming friends and bringing Brook into her circle, they fall for each other. It's slightly rocky at first, and the two are unsure how they would last outside of prison, but decide to make their relationship work, and make plans for their future together. After Poussey's death, Brook doesn't know how to cope and drives everyone else away with her saddness and grief.
  • Franziska (prior to series start) - Poussey's girlfriend while her father was stationed in Germany. When Franziska's father found out, he was angry, he believed the two of them needed fixing, and despite Poussey's efforts, the relationship ended.

EnemiesEdit

  • Yvonne "Vee" Parker - Vee and Poussey never got along. When Vee apologized to Taystee with some cake as a peace offering, Poussey was visibly doubtful of Vee's sincerity. Poussey unsuccessfully tried to persuade the other girls that Vee shouldn't be trusted. Poussey tried to befriend Vee once for Taystee's sake, but she gave up after discovering Vee's heroin business. In the end, Poussey got her friends back and they confronted Vee together.
  • Leanne Taylor
  • Franziska's father - He was a German commander on the base where she and her family were stationed. He forcibly ended Poussey and his daughter's relationship. Poussey almost pulled a gun on him (unseen by him), after which she was stopped by her father. The commander also told her father that there is special therapy for "confused girls like Poussey," but her father retaliated by saying his daughter is just fine the way she is.

Memorable QuotesEdit

"My name is Poussey. Accent à droite, bitch."
— Poussey Washington
"Man, they fuckin' us this way 'cause they know our people's predisposition for hypertension."
— Poussey Washington
"I want the kind of job where I could just chill, you know."
— Poussey Washington
"Don't ever call a black guard 'Sister'."
— Poussey Washington
"You're like a pedophile without the sex."
— Poussey Washington
"Ya'll there is a main coochie hole and then there's, like, another little hole just for pee."
— Poussey Washington
"Nein, motherfucker, nein."
— Poussey Washington
"I'm gonna make them cry all right. Make em' cry like they going through a haunted house!
A haunted house called life!
"
— Poussey Washington
"Go easy with the bitch smacking."
— Poussey Washington
"We all in here because we took a wrong turn going to church!"
— Poussey Washington
"You look in her eyes and know she's seen some shit."
— Poussey Washington
"Yo, dump your shit! They doin' a sweep!"
— Poussey Washington
"I wasn't even in Jersey when that shit happened!"
— Poussey Washington
"It's abstract yo."
— Poussey Washington
"It's just chilling, you know? Kicking it with somebody, talking, making mad stupid jokes.
And, like, not even wanting to go to sleep, 'cause then you might be without 'em for a minute.
And you don't want that.
"
— Poussey Washington ("You Also Have a Pizza")
"Did ever occur to you that we don't wanna get in touch with our feelings?
That actually feeling our feelings might make it impossible to survive in here?
"
— Poussey Washington ("Take a Break From Your Values")
"There's no such thing as love. Love is just sex without the money shot."
— Poussey Washington ("Fear, and Other Smells")
"Look, maybe... this challenges what you thought you were. And... maybe I'm gonna get my heart broken in a thousand different pieces. But those are maybes. You can't live your life accordin' to maybes."
— Poussey Washington ("Piece of Shit")
"Oh fuck it hurts! Get the fuck off me, man! (mouthed) Help me..."
— Poussey's last words ("The Animals")

Trivia Edit

  • She's an Aries, as mentioned in "Tall Men with Feelings".
  • She was named after the town of "Poussey" in North-eastern France, where her father was stationed when she was born, and often finds herself on the receiving end of mockery by the other inmates because of its alternative pronunciation.
  • Poussey speaks fluent German which she learned while living in Hohenfels, a U.S. army base in southern Germany.
  • She also speaks French.
  • According to the photo Ali posted to twitter, as seen in "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again", the picture was posted at 10:20pm in November 2008. As Poussey had been in prison for two years in 2013, this means the time between the flashback and her incarceration was between two and three years. This may be due to court dates, may be a retcon, or may mean that her arrest occurred a while after the events of the flashbacks.

GalleryEdit

Season 1Edit

Promotional PicturesEdit

Season 2Edit

Promotional PicturesEdit

OthersEdit

Tumblr n976e7hlnu1s99nn5o1 250

Poussey3 Poussey

Poussey4   Poussey1

References Edit

  1. In "(Don't) Say Anything" Poussey says, "Subverting expecations since 1990", while playing basketball.

Navigation Edit

Inmate Navigation
Suburbs Piper Chapman  •  Alex Vause  •  Galina Reznikov  •  Lorna Morello  •  Nicky Nichols  •  Tiffany Doggett  •  Brook Soso  •  Angie Rice  •  Norma Romano  •  Carrie Black  •  Gina Murphy  • Anita DeMarco  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Leanne Taylor  •  Erica Jones  •  Frieda Berlin   •  Helen Van Maele  •  Kasey Sankey  •  Stephanie Hapakuka  •  Alana Dwight  •  Jennifer Digori  •  Brandy Epps  •  Loretta Fisher  •  Rhea Boyle  •  Shelly Ginsberg  •  Danita  •  Voth  •  White Cindy  •  Linda Ferguson  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Judy King  •  Lolly Whitehill  •  Sara Rice  •  Rosa Cisneros  •  Jimmy Cavanaugh  •  Taslitz  •  Tricia Miller  •  Mercy Valduto  •  Mei Chang  •  Stella Carlin
Ghetto Suzanne Warren  •  Tasha Jefferson  •  Cindy Hayes  •  Janae Watson  •  Alison Abdullah  •  Irma Lerman  •  Reema Pell  •  Jeanie Babson  •  Jayne Cooke  •  Poussey Washington  •  Yvonne Parker  • Sophia Burset  •  Claudette Pelage
Spanish Harlem Dayanara Diaz  •  Maria Ruiz  •  Blanca Flores  •  Marisol Gonzales  •  Gloria Mendoza  •  Carmen Aziza  •  Gerrman  •  Ramona Contreras  •  Cabrera  •  Michelle Carreras  •  Maritza Ramos  •  Lea Guerrera  •  Annie Valdez  • A-Rod  •  Aleida Diaz

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