Metro-East News

Belleville native’s Netflix show named ‘most popular’ of 2016

Lea DeLaria spoke in Sept. 2015 at Lindenwood University-Belleville as part of a speaker series.
Lea DeLaria spoke in Sept. 2015 at Lindenwood University-Belleville as part of a speaker series. dholtmann@bnd.com

You might already know that Netflix star Lea DeLaria grew up in Belleville, but you might not have heard her comedy show was deemed the most popular show of 2016.

According to one multimedia research company, the fourth season of “Orange Is the New Black” was recently named the most popular show of last year on all channels. SymphonyAM collected data on the show’s first 35 days of viewership from a mobile app that gathers information from consumers, according to Fortune magazine. Netflix does not release its viewership numbers.

Following “Orange Is the New Black” on the top-five list were “The Big Bang Theory,” “Stranger Things,” “Fuller House” and ‘Designated Survivor,” Fortune reports.

When I grew up, I never saw anybody like me, which is why it’s important for me to be out. In my wildest dreams I never thought I would wake up in my own lifetime to see the Supreme Court of the United States say, ‘Oh yes, you have equality.’ It’s shocking to me how far we’ve come, it’s amazing to me how far we’ve come.

Lea DeLaria

DeLaria plays Carrie “Big Boo” Black in the show about the incarcerated females of a fictional prison in upstate New York. Her character is an audacious staple of the show’s dramatic intrigues, which includes lesbian love affairs and tackles challenging topics like the oftentimes humiliating facets of life behind bars, transgender issues and the shortfalls of the criminal justice system.

In a previous interview with the News-Democrat, DeLaria said being a gay woman can be difficult, to say the least, though she said she fit in well in high school. DeLaria sports a tattoo that reads “Butch,” no less.

“The biggest difference in my life now is if I walk out of my apartment I get asked by a thousand people to get their picture taken with me,” she said. “Young girls, guys. Straight. Gay. Whatever. Before, people would spit in my face and call me a dyke.”

DeLaria said her show has a positive impact in gay people’s lives. In Sept. 2015, DeLaria spoke to students at Lindenwood University about how to “Love yourself.”

“When I grew up, I never saw anybody like me, which is why it’s important for me to be out,” she told students. “In my wildest dreams I never thought I would wake up in my own lifetime to see the Supreme Court of the United States say, ‘Oh yes, you have equality.’ It’s shocking to me how far we’ve come; it’s amazing to me how far we’ve come.”

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