July 28, 2020
She stole the show in Orange Is the New Black. Now the actor is playing the first black woman to seek the US presidency – and rejecting suggestions she gets a ‘Hollywood smile’
Shirley Chisholm was a woman of many firsts. She was the first black woman elected to Congress, the first black candidate to seek the presidency, and the first woman, full-stop, to participate in a US presidential debate. She introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation, most championing racial, economic and gender equality, and is often credited as paving the way for Barack Obama. In doing so, she occupied a space that many black women recognise: the solitary seat as the only such face at the table.
Uzo Aduba, who plays Chisholm in the acclaimed new FX series Mrs America, says that this was a key factor in bringing this formidable politician to life. “That feeling of being the ‘only’,” she says, speaking via Zoom with a warm smile on her face. “It was important to get that right.”