Probably best known for her recurring role as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on Netflix’s production Orange is the New Black, Danielle Brooks is an award-winning actress and singer. What you may not know is that Ms. Brooks grew up right here in Greenville, SC. She began acting in a church play at the age of six, fell in love with it, and ended up finishing her high school years at the SC Govorner’s School for the Arts & Humanities. From there, she went on to study drama at Julliard, and upon graduation, immediately landed roles in two theater productions before being cast in OITNB in 2013.
Her character Taystee was only written in to two episodes of season one, but ended up staying on the remainder of the season, and became a regular throughout the rest of the series. During her tenure on OITNB, she also earned critical acclaim — and a Tony award — as Sofia in 2015’s revival of The Color Purple, her Broadway debut.
Throughout her journey, Ms. Brooks has been a role model for girls and women in regards to body positivity. She often speaks about the importance of self love, self care, and representation in the media and entertainment industry of plus-sized women and women of color.
She also uses her platform to convey the importance of voting. In an Instagram post, she encouraged her fans to “support local candidates. Your voice matters. Your vote matters.” In that same video, she also showed the Upstate some love when she said, “I grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. And this community is a big part of me and I take it where ever I go. It will always be a part of me. 8-6-4, I love you!”
Please join us in congratulating this 2019 Upstate Black History Maker!