Uzo Aduba says it’s of major importance to her that people get a real sense of the doors that Shirley Chisholm opened during her life.
Aduba is playing Chisholm in the upcoming FX miniseries “Mrs. America,” premiering on April 15. Chisholm was the first Black person to run for a presidential nomination of a major party, and the first Black woman to serve in Congress.
“I hope there’s a real respect for her innate strength,” Aduba told Newsweek. “I also really want people to understand that there was someone who came before that proverbial door was open to people of color and women in office. I want her to hold her rightful place in history.”
Aduba also said that she was intimidated by playing such an important figure.
“Even though I didn’t know so much of the ins and outs of her politics, I knew she was a force for justice and change mostly because my mom was a passionate lover of hers, so that made it doubly intimidating,” she explained.
Chisholm, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., was one of the founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus. She co-founded Brooklyn’s Unity Democratic Club as well. Plus, she was the director of the Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center in the 1950s.
The seven-term New York congresswoman wrote two books on top of all that, “Unbought and Unbossed,” released in 1970, and “The Good Fight” in 1973. She taught at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts in the 1980s as well.
Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama.
The next projects coming up for Aduba include the film “Really Love,” which also stars Kofi Siriboe, Naturi Naughton, Tristan Wilds, and Jade Eshete.
Deadline describes the film as a romantic drama set in gentrified Washington, D.C., and it’s about a starving artist trying to make it in the art scene. There hasn’t been a release date given for that project yet.
Aduba will also join Lupita Nyong‘o in “Americanah,” a 10-episode limited HBO series about a Nigerian woman who falls in love with a classmate as a teenager before moving to America and eventually reuniting with him back home.
Aduba grew to fame by portraying the popular character Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” from 2013 to 2019.
Chisholm passed away on Jan. 1, 2005, in Ormond Beach, Florida, at 80 years old.