How ‘Orange Is the New Black’ links ‘white lives matter’ to Nazi Germany


Throughout much of the new season of Orange is the New Black—which hit Netflix’s streaming library last Friday—Piper Chapman’s focus is aimed squarely on amassing power and maintaining control. Kinda like Hitler! That’s why one of the Easter eggs tucked away in one of the episodes is so subtly clever.

While the fifth episode of season four, titled “We’ll Always Have Baltimore,” stars Maritza Ramos (Diane Guerrero), the B plot finds Chapman (Taylor Schilling) in a panic over the future of her blackmarket panty business after Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel) launches a competitor enterprise of her own. In retaliation, Piper employs some dog-whistle racism to set up a meeting for her fellow incarcerated peoples who claim to be concerned about gangs growing at Litchfield Penitentiary. Chapman quickly loses control over the all-white meeting, however, as attendees begin chanting “White lives matter!” at their horrified-looking organizer.

What you might have missed in this impromptu white-power rally is the song chosen to soundtrack the tail end of the scene and the credits that follow.

“Tomorrow Belongs to Me” is a selection from Cabaret, the 1966 John Kander and Fred Ebb musical that depicts the rise of Nazism through the lens of Weimar Germany’s sexually liberated, if blissfully ignorant, nightlife scene. The unsettlingly intense number is meant to evoke the kind of fascist anthem that could sweep through the German countryside during times of economic hardship to convince an insecure ruling class susceptible to bigotry and racism to “take back” their country—to “Make Germany great again,” you might say.

Although written for the musical, “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” has been covered by many racist and anti-Semitic rock bands like British group Screwdriver, IMDB notes. Here’s how the song was performed in the production’s 1972 film adaptation starring Liza Minnelli and Michael York.

Back to OITNB: As the scene draws to a close, the camera focuses its gaze on a Confederate flag tattoo needled into the neck of one of the chanting extras. The addition of the banner—originally a battle flag used by a Virginian army fighting to preserve slavery in the seceded Confederate States of America—is a nice touch, drawing yet another historical parallel to the microcosm of politicized racism at play in Litchfield.

In conclusion, Chapman is Hitler. Pass it on.

Bad at filling out bios seeks same.

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