Uzo Aduba on How Shirley Chisholm Inspired Her to Honor Breonna Taylor at 2020 Emmys (Exclusive) 

'As celebratory as a night this is... I didn't want to forget what's happening outside.'

Uzo Aduba's Mrs. America character, Shirley Chisholm, has inspired the actress to "represent the voiceless." While accepting her Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie on Sunday night, Aduba wore a shirt with Breonna Taylor's name on it. She told ET's Kevin Frazier that raising awareness for Taylor's case is something Chisholm would have done. 

"I had the great fortune of working on a show like Mrs. America, playing a woman who made it her life's work to represent the voiceless and take up space for people who often go missing in the story, whose voices don't get to be heard," Aduba said of Chisholm, who was the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress. In the 1972 presidential election, Chisholm also became the first Black candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

"As celebratory as a night this is, Kevin, and we know it to be, I didn't want to forget what's happening outside," the actress continued. "I wanted to bring a piece of that inside, and I wanted to try and follow in Miss Chisholm's shoes as best as I could and try and elevate the conversation. And hopefully we can take a step closer, too."

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was shot dead by police in her own home in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13. Two of the officers involved in the case have been placed on leave and one has been fired. None have been charged in the case. 

Aduba said it "means everything" to be able to amplify Taylor's case. She's also thrilled she was able to bring Chisholm's story to light in Mrs. America. 

"I'm so glad that this story was being told, because ... this is was a woman whose name we don't know and should know," she shared. "All of the amazing things that she did being the first... the first [Black] woman to be in congress, be the first woman person of color to run for president, what an amazing amazing tribute that is to her legacy." 

Aduba said she hasn't yet had a chance to speak to her Mrs. America co-stars, but has seen the notifications pile up on her phone. 

"I've seen Rose [Byrne], we have a little women's chat, and I've seen some of the women's names come through. I've seen Sarah Paulson, her name come through, you know Margo [Martindale], a bunch of the ladies show up. So thank you, ladies!" she gushed. 

The Orange Is the New Black album is also still waiting on her Emmy. "They're stuck in traffic or something," she joked. (Due to the coronavirus pandemic, stars participated in this year's ceremony from their home.) 

"I don't know [where I'm going to put it]," Aduba added. "I'd have to figure it out."


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