Regina King used fashion to bring light to the Black Lives Matter movement at the 2020 Emmy Awards.
Instead of wearing a glamorous gown or comfortable pajamas, the Watchmen star, 49, honored Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by police in a raid of her apartment six months ago in an incident that sparked widespread protests, by wearing a 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 topped off the statement-making shirt with a hot pink pantsuit by Schiaparelli and wore her natural curls pulled up into a high topknot.
The actress joins other celebs including Oprah Winfrey, LeBron James and Beyoncé, who have been publicly demanding justice for Taylor and have called for the officers involved to be charged.
"It’s been 150 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered in her sleep by Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove — and her killers have not been charged. Too often Black women who die from police violence are forgotten," King wrote on Instagram.
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It’s been 150 days since Breonna Taylor was murdered in her sleep by Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove—and her killers have not been charged. Too often Black women who die from police violence are forgotten. Let’s stay loud, keep demanding justice for Breonna and her family, and SAY HER NAME. This campaign and t-shirt was created by @phenomenal in partnership with the Breonna Taylor Foundation, to which all profits will be donated. Click link in bio Art by @arlyn.garcia
"Let’s stay loud, keep demanding justice for Breonna and her family, and SAY HER NAME. This campaign and T-shirt was created by @phenomenal in partnership with the Breonna Taylor Foundation, to which all profits will be donated," she continued.
Before the Emmys, King and her styling team Wayman Bannerman and Micah McDonald decided to do a glamorous photo shoot featuring the bold blue Schiaparelli Couture by Daniel Roseberry ballgown she intended to wear to the Emmy Awards if it had been in person.
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Emmys red carpet gone virtual! Photographer: JamesShootsAndDraws by James Anthony @iamjamesanthony Stylist: Wayman + Micah @waymanandmicah MUA: Latrice Johnson @makeupbylatrice Hair: Larry Sims @larryjarahsims Music: Buttercreem Dress: Schiaparelli Couture by Daniel Roseberry @schiaparelli Jewels: Earrings Bondeye Jewelry, Established Jewelry, Rings – Nouvel Heritage Shoes: Stuart Weitzman
“We just felt like this night wasn’t going to happen how it normally happens and how can we still get involved and still have some excitement around this,” King said.
She continued, “We had just taken COVID tests because we had just done a photo shoot before and so we said, ‘Let’s do it!'"
When the Emmys' executive producers and host Jimmy Kimmel sent out a letter informing nominees that the highly anticipated event will be virtual due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they also explained that this year's dress code would not be its standard black tie affair.
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"Our informal theme for the night is 'come as you are, but make an effort,'" the statement read. "If you want to be in formal wear, we’d love that, but equally if you’re in the UK and it’s 3am, perhaps you want to be in designer pajamas and record from your bed! We want to work with you to style your moments, but want you to guide us on your levels of comfort – where you want to be, who you want to be with, what you want to wear etc."
King earned a nomination in the outstanding lead actress in a limited series/movie category for her role as Sister Night, a tough-as-nails superhero on the hit HBO series Watchmen. She's up against Cate Blanchett, Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer and Shira Haas.
The actress has already won three Emmys (in 2015, 2016 and 2018) and last year she won her first Oscar for If Beale Street Could Talk.
She also just directed her first feature film, One Night in Miami, a fictionalized account of a true event that occurred on Feb. 25, 1964, when Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) beat boxing world champ Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center and spent the evening celebrating with football star Jim Brown, singer Sam Cooke and activist Malcolm X.
“For me, life has been a series of breakthrough moments,” King recently told PEOPLE. “I pray that never ends.”
The 72nd Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, are airing live on ABC from 8-11 p.m. ET.
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