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Tasha Jefferson

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Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson is an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary. She is portrayed by Danielle Brooks. While Piper Chapman is the main protagonist of the series, Taystee could be considered the main protagonist of Season Two.

Personality

Taystee is a very funny person, who mainly stays within the group of black inmates (especially with Poussey). She claims to prefer life in "the system" (i.e., group homes, juvenile prison, and Litchfield Penitentiary) over "the outside". Despite her less than ideal upbringing and often outrageous behaviour, she is highly intelligent, and shows great ambition.

Physical Appearance

Taystee is short, and has black, long curly hair. In Season One, she wears a lock of Piper's blonde hair.

Biography

Before Litchfield

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

Taystee grew up in the foster care system, although it is unclear whether her parents were deceased or simply unable or unwilling to look after her. At adoption fairs, she would attempt to show off to couples looking to adopt in hopes of her being adopted. At one group home adoption fair, Taystee was discovered by Vee, who was revealed to be a drug dealer (although she calls herself a "businesswoman"). Initially,Taystee wanted nothing to do with dealing drugs ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red"). Taystee was a state ward until she was 16 and then went to juvenile prison. According to her, she's been in institutions her entire life ("Fucksgiving").

Youngtaystee

A young Taystee's first encounter with her future mother figure, Vee.

She grew up in group homes and occasionally ran into Vee on the streets. For a while, Taystee resisted associating with Vee because of her stance on drugs. However, after an incident at a group home (inferred to be a sexual assault upon Taystee), Taystee tearfully appealed to Vee. She wanted to be taken in by Vee to avoid going to another group home. Vee noticed Taystee's sharp math skills she acquired while working a fast food job. Vee decided to give her a chance to work as an "accountant" for her drug operation ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red").

Vee and Taystee, along with another adopted "son" RJ, became a tight-knit family unit. RJ later decided to go into business on his own and break away from Vee's business. This escalated to Vee ordering the murder of RJ through her crooked police officer friend ("It Was the Change").

Taystee was crushed that RJ had died. Vee lied to Taystee saying that RJ got himself killed by carrying a gun on him at night. Vee assured Taystee that she would not let this happen to any of her other "children" again ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red").

Taystee was eventually arrested and incarcerated at Litchfield, most likely for trafficking heroin for Vee's drug ring.

Season One

At Litchfield, she works in the library organizing and shelving books. She is well-read and likes watching the nature documentary Planet Earth. Taystee can also be aggressive, displayed when she gets in a fight with Flaca over ice cream.

In order for Piper to get shea butter, she trades a lock of her hair. Taystee then has Sophia put the blonde lock in Taystee's hair, which can be seen throughout Season One.
Tareturn

Taystee returns to Litchfield after violating her parole ("Fool Me Once").

Taystee's release date is soon approaching. Black Cindy and her best friend Poussey both help her with a mock parole-board interview. She also gets her hair done by Sophia in order to look more professional.

Taystee has her parole meeting, and she learns that she is getting out. When she is released, she stays at a house with someone she was in foster care with. Taystee quickly realizes she cannot adjust to the fast-paced real world and strict demands of her probation, which has her sleeping on the floor of her second cousin, who does not want her there. We later find out that Vee was nowhere to be found during Taystee's release. She decides to violate her probation which puts her back in Litchfield.

She is seen singing in the Christmas Pageant with Black Cindy and Poussey ("Can't Fix Crazy").

Season Two

Taystee wins the mock job fair, beating out Flaca in the final round. Figueroa informs Taystee that she did not win an actual job, but will instead have $10 added to her commissary. Taystee then sees Vee walk into the chapel after years of separation ("Looks Blue, Tastes Red").

After fooling around a bit on Poussey's bed, she suddenly gets kissed by her. She tells Poussey that she is sorry and explains that "they've already been through this." Then they just cuddle a litte bit. Their relationship will be strained from this moment on.

After Vee's return to Litchfield, Taystee is fully captured in her daughter role. After Vee manipulates her to leave Poussey behind as her friend, she also uses her for her drug and cigarette dealing market. Taystee is made clear of being Vee's companion and a member of "the family", but after Poussey wrecks Vee's tobacco stash in a drunken rage, Vee ejects Taystee for not taking care of the threat that Poussey posed. Taystee realises she's been used and dropped by Vee, who was supposed to be her "mother". After dealing with her raw emotion, she begins warning the other girls of being endangered by her manipulations. It comes to the point where she openly stands up against her motherly figure, and, tired of Vee's psychopathic behaviour, Watson and Cindy drop her too. Vee's the one who is kicked out of the family, leaving her vulnerable and under suspicion by the feds for attacking Red. She escapes from Litchfield, only to be run over and killed by Miss Rosa, who has also escaped (We Have Manners. We're Polite.).

Season Three

Taysteesuzanne

Taystee and Suzanne mourn the loss of Vee ("Finger in the Dyke").

Taystee and Poussey are forced to calm Suzanne down every time someone brings up Vee's death. Eventually, Taystee confronts Suzanne personally about Suzanne not accepting Vee's death. When Taystee does this, she breaks down and cries as they both mourn the loss of Vee ("Finger in the Dyke").

After inmates outside of her black family begin to approach her with random problems, Taystee quickly realizes she has become the "mom" of her group. She is displeased with this newly found responsibility.

Season Four

Taystee is made Caputo's assistant due to budget cuts ("(Don't) Say Anything"). Caputo tells Piscatella that he chose her because "she's the only semi-intelligent inmate I'm only semi-attracted to". They get along well enough and she is shown to be fairly competent at her job. As she now has access to the internet, Taystee googles her fellow inmates and reads magazines, then eventually figures out she could sell a photo of celebrity chef inmate Judy King to celebrity tabloids for money for commissary.

Poussey Washington is accidentally killed by CO Baxter Bayley when guards try to stop a peaceful protest. Taystee rushes to her dead body and cries while lying beside her. In her grief, Taystee goes to her office desk to keep her mind busy. She tries to help Caputo find General Washington's contact details and tries to keep Caputo from blaming Poussey in the official press announcement, like the guards and MCC want him to. When the crisis management officials tell Caputo to lock the prisoners in their dorms, Taystee hides behind her desk so she can hear his press announcement. She is enraged when Caputo goes off script and not only defends Bayley but announces he will return to work and fails to mention Poussey's name at all, she sneaks out of the office and incites a full scale prison riot. She is last seen standing at the front of the black girls group as every racial group crowds the hallways around two COs and Dayanara Diaz, who holds a gun one of the COs dropped. She aims it at him and Taystee screams at her to shoot him.

Relationships

Friends

  • Poussey Washington (best friend) – Taystee and Poussey are shown to be close friends throughout their time together in Litchfield. Taystee rejects Poussey romantically, informing her she is not a lesbian and doesn't share the same feelings. They remained good friends until Poussey's death.
  • Black Cindy (friend) – Taystee asks Cindy to help her with her interview on being released, which Cindy does. After that, Cindy and Taystee become good friends.
  • Janae Watson (friend) – When Janae first arrives, she meets Poussey and Taystee in the cafeteria. The two talk about Miss Claudette, and Piper butts in on the conversation and receives confused looks from the girls. Watson, Taystee and Cindy are usually inseperable, always eating together and spending most of their time together.
  • Suzanne Warren – When Vee first arrives, she empowers Suzanne to stop grovelling for white women's approval and start associating with other black women instead. Taystee is able to communicate with Suzanne more effectively than the others and helps her through her mental illness. Suzanne often eats with the other black girls. Similar to Vee, when Suzanne once again allows a white woman to walk all over her, Taystee encourages Suzanne to stay away from her and not buy into her emotional manipulation.
  • Brook Soso – Taystee begrudgingly accepts Soso into the black girls group as it means she will be able to repair her friendship with Poussey, who wants to date Soso.
  • Kasey Sankey - Highly questionable, Kasey and Taystee allied to defeat Piscatella along with the other inmates, but Kasey is extremely racist.
  • Joe Caputo - In Season Four, Caputo hires Taystee as his receptionist. They get along fairly well and Caputo secretly tells a CO he is "semi-attracted" to Taystee. During Caputo's press announcement regarding Poussey's death, Taystee hides behind her desk in order to hear the speech as it happens. She is enraged when Caputo alludes to Poussey being responsible for her killing and does not state Poussey's name at all. She sneaks out of the office and incites a riot involving every inmate at Litchfield. It is unknown whether she will forgive Caputo for his speech (and it is unknown to her that his speech was actually going against MCC's pre-written speech, which was full of lies).

Enemies

  • Vee (adoptive mother figure) – Taystee and Vee had a very complicated relationship. Vee was one of the only people to give Taystee a true family and take her in as her own. However, after Taystee was released from Litchfield, Vee was nowhere to be found. Upon the two both returning to prison, the relationship became that much more complicated. Taystee ultimately turned away from Vee after the latter became violent and broke apart their prison family. Taystee broke down in tears after hearing of Vee's passing, revealing how much Vee truly meant to her.
  • The veteran COs - They treat all the prisoners with disrespect, but Dixon in particular targets Taystee by smashing the watch Caputo gave Taystee, purely to hurt her. When Daya aims a gun at Thomas Humphrey, Taystee encourages her to shoot him.

Memoir

The character of "Taystee" is based on a real life prison inmate from the novel and memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison which the television series is loosely based on, who is named "Delicious". Delicious is described as being African-American and frequently likes to sing. The character of Taystee is one of only a handful of characters from the TV series to be loosely based on a real-life person.

Memorable Quotes

"That's bullshit, shit to the bull."
— Tasha Jefferson
"So I'm sitting there, barbecue sauce on my titties, and I'm like 'What the fuck? Again?"
— Tasha Jefferson
"Learned? I ain't learned nothing. I came in this motherfucker innocent, and I'm still innocent."
— Tasha Jefferson
"Got that new 'do, boo!"
— Tasha Jefferson
"Everyone I know is poor, in jail or gone."
— Tasha Jefferson
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean place."
— Tasha Jefferson
"This ain't The fucking Help, bitch! But you will eat my shit!"
— Tasha Jefferson
"Them cracker meth-head bitches won't let us change the channel! And it's our turn! I can't watch no more Toddlers and Tiaras."
— Tasha Jefferson
"Fucking J.K. Rowling! Some punk-ass publisher read Harry fucking Potter and was like "nope!"."
— Tasha Jefferson
"They didn't even say her name!"
— Taystee outraged over Caputo's report on Poussey's death.

Gallery

Season 1

Promotional Pictures

Season 2

Promotional Pictures

Others

Taystee2 Taystee3 Taystee4 Taystee5 Taystee6 Taystee7

Navigation

Inmate Navigation
Suburbs Piper Chapman  •  Alex Vause  •  Galina Reznikov  •  Lorna Morello  •  Nicky Nichols  •  Tiffany Doggett  •  Mei Chang  •  Brook Soso  •  Angie Rice  •  Norma Romano  •  Carrie Black  •  Gina Murphy  • Anita DeMarco  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Leanne Taylor  •  Judy King  •  Yoga Jones  •  Frieda Berlin   •  Helen Van Maele  •  Kasey Sankey  •  Stephanie Hapakuka  •  Alana Dwight  •  Jennifer Digori  •  Brandy Epps  •  Loretta Fisher  •  Rhea Boyle  •  Ginsberg
Ghetto Suzanne Warren  •  Tasha Jefferson  •  Sophia Burset  •  Cindy Hayes  •  Janae Watson  •  Alison Abdullah  •  Irma Lerman  •  Reema Pell
Spanish Harlem Dayanara Diaz  •  Maria Ruiz  •  Blanca Flores  •  Marisol Gonzalez  •  Gloria Mendoza  •  Ouija Aziza  •  Gerrman  •  Ramona Contrares  •  Carrera  •  Michelle Carreras  •  Maritza Ramos

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