Sharon Jones on the Pros and Cons of 'Orange Is the New Black'The soul singer (and former prison guard) weighs in on what Netflix's hit show gets right and where it misses the mark
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"Man, I'm so mad at you!" Sharon Jones says, before breaking into a hearty laugh. "You got me hooked on this show now! Why did you do this to me?!?" The 58-year-old R&B singer had been told by friends and bandmates for months that she should check out this hot new show Orange Is the New Black, a drama about female prisoners streaming on Netflix. But despite hearing the praise and having met a cast member ("The butch one…she's a buddy of my saxophonist, Neal Sugarman!"), Jones self-admittedly avoided checking it out; prior to joining up with the Dap-Kings and establishing herself as a first-class soul singer, she had worked as corrections officer at Rikers back in the Nineties. "I'd already been in those kinds of environments," Jones says. "So it was like, 'Nah, I don't want to go back there.'"
But when Rolling Stone asked her to weigh in on the show — how authentic its depiction of prison life was, what did it get right, what did it get wrong — Jones gamely dove in, selecting five episodes "at random" from the show's two seasons. Now, the singer says, she's a bona fide fanatic. "I've got 12 days off before we head to Europe for a tour," Jones declares, "so I'm going back and starting it from the beginning. In fact, as soon as I get off the phone with you, I'm gonna watch two episodes in a row!" She then proceeded to weigh in on Orange's cast of pros and cons, and tell us what the show absolutely nails about life behind bars. By David Fear