Regina King Honors Breonna Taylor by Wearing Statement-Making T-Shirt at the 2020 Emmys
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 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.
"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.
"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.
King wore her natural curls pulled up into a high topknot, which gave us a full glimpse of her "Donna Summer"-inspired makeup. The bold colors on her eyes recalled the "'70s disco era" specifically, says makeup artist Tym Buacharern, who's worked with the actress on and off for 15 years.
The star kept her glam squad small – only Buacharern and her hairstylist, who'd both been tested repeatedly for COVID-19, were present. Buacharern applied Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation SPF 30 in 440 and 450 because "it goes on lightweight but allows you to build", and Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Concealer in 304 under her eyes.
After blending shades from the brand's Essentialist Eye Palettes in Cat Street Pops and Hanatsubaki Street Life, he created a two-tone lip by lining them with the brand's four-in-one eye pencil, Kajal Ink Artist in Tea House, then by filling them in with its ModernMatte Powder Lipstick in Thigh High and Shimmer Gel Lip Gloss in Kurumi Beige.
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.
“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, who accessorized her photo shoot look with earrings by Bondeye Jewelry and Established, as well as rings by Nouvel Heritage.
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.
"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."
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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.