The then-teenagers who became known as the Central Park Five, were convicted in a 1989 rape in Central Park, and after serving their time, they were exonerated through DNA testing.
DuVernay's series, which tells the story of the wrongful conviction of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise, began when Santana reached out to the director on Twitter, they told E! on the red carpet.
"I think it was the most important thing for us to see each other's stories because we hadn't even talked about this," Salaam said. "So first of all, to humanize us in such a magnificent way, was such an honor."
"And for me to see Korey, who had gone to the park but wasn't a suspect, they weren't looking for him. And when they came to get me as a suspect, they asked him if he would go with me. This is the ultimate 'take a bullet for your homie' kind of thing," Salaam said. "And I was just so grateful to see that because, I didn't know, we never spoke about what our experiences were like. This was really the first time ... for us to have seen each other's stories ... and now the whole world got an opportunity to see it."
The patriarch of the "This Is Us" cast brought his parents to the Emmys.
Milo Ventimiglia, nominated for lead actor in a drama series, said it was his parents' first time at the award show because they turned down his invitation the last two years.
"They've been excited and they've always been supportive of me. To show them what this show is, I think it's an experience," the actor told E!.
"I can’t look at them too much or I'll start crying," Ventimiglia said. "We need to give examples of coming together and showing love, and it's such a strength to be able to show love -- and in many different ways."
"Very proud," his dad added.
Laverne Cox, nominated for guest actress in a drama series for "Orange Is the New Black," brought ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio as her date.
They used their time on the red carpet with E! to draw attention to cases headed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 8. during which it will determine whether federal civil rights protections extend to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Cox became the first trans actor to be nominated for an Emmy in an acting category in 2014. If she wins, she'll become the first transgender performer to win an Emmy.