Uzo Aduba Says Winning Emmy for Playing a 'Champion … For Those Left Behind' Feels Especially Touching
Uzo Aduba used fashion to make a statement at the 2020 Emmy Awards.
The Mrs. America actress, 39, wore a black t-shirt honoring Breonna Taylor, the Kentucky woman who was fatally shot in her home by police in March, to accept the award for best supporting actress in limited series or movie during the virtual award show on Sunday night.
Aduba teamed her statement tee with what appeared to be matching gold pants. The Orange Is the New Black star wore her braided hair pulled back into an updo and accessorized with simple drop earrings.
In her acceptance speech, Aduba paid tribute to the groundbreaking civil rights activist she portrayed, saying, "I want to say thank you for Shirley Chisholm for her championship work for all people who have been forgotten, marginalized, who she represented."
Speaking with PEOPLE after her win, Aduba echoed that sentiment. Winning, she said, "means a lot, particularly for the character that I was able and fortunate enough to play. Shirley Chisholm was a trailblazer and a champion for those who had been forgotten and left behind, and those who had no voice where they should. It feels especially touching to bring her story to light, and the stories of those who have not been heard."
Portraying Chisholm helped inform her choice to highlight Breonna Taylor's story in her outfit, she said: "Having been able to take space playing a woman who did something remarkable and who stood up for the people who are most voiceless in our society and who have not been championed. It felt like, in this time, I didn't want to leave what's happening outside. I want to bring the world in and represent and speak for those who have been forgotten."
Speaking with PEOPLE ahead of the remote broadcast, Aduba's stylist Cristina Ehrlich said her outfit was inspired by "the current climate we are living in and what our client uses her voice and platform for."
Ehrlich said the prepping for this year's show was different than a traditional red carpet "due to the lack of being hands on with our client and team," adding, "We have to have more virtual fittings and calls to make sure it is more flushed out than ever to fulfill what the client wants to express."
She continued: "The biggest challenge with styling during a pandemic is making sure everything is placed and handled between the several zoom and phone calls to fulfill what the client wants to express." While the most rewarding part of dressing celebrities during this unprecedented time has been "seeing our creativity come to life through a virtual setting," Ehrlich shared. "This has been invigorating to do what I love and collaborate with Uzo and the team behind her look."
Aduba wasn't the only Emmy winner who shined light on the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2020 Emmy Awards.
Instead of wearing a glamorous gown or comfortable pajamas, Watchmen star Regina King also honored Breonna Taylor by wearing a Phenomenal Woman T-shirt emblazoned with Taylor's face across the front to the virtual award show.
Across the top of the shirt read the phrase, "SAY HER NAME" in all capital letters. King paired the shirt (all profits benefit the Breonna Taylor Foundation) with a hot pink pantsuit by Schiaparelli.
Ozark star Laura Linney also used her platform to make a statement, wearing a black suit embossed with the word "VOTE" in white letters.
The 72nd Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, are airing live on ABC from 8-11 p.m. ET.
Catch People (the TV show!) Monday through Friday. Check your local listings for exact times or stream the show every day at 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT at People.com and PeopleTV.com.
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