5 times that proved Chadwick Boseman had all the qualities of a real life superhero
Since the passing of Chadwick Boseman, we’ve all taken our time to collectively mourn. A new mural depicting Boseman was just unveiled at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. With the premiere of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Boseman’s final feature film, on the horizon let’s look at five times Chadwick Boseman proved he didn’t just play a superhero on screen. He was one in real life as well.
5.) Defending his Co-Stars
The first instance where Chadwick proved he’s a real life superhero was one that came about after his death. Boseman’s ‘21 Bridges’ co-star Sienna Miller recently revealed that he gave part of his salary to her. The pay-gap disparity between men and women in Hollywood has become a huge topic of debate over the past few years. In 2018, co stars Mark Whalberg and Michelle Williams were paid astronomically different salaries for filming reshoots for Ridley Scott’s ‘All the Money in the World.’ Mark Walberg was paid 1.5 million dollars to reshoot scenes, while Williams received only eighty dollars in per diem. Walberg eventually donated his salary to the Time’s Up movement .
Miller pointed out that it would have been easy for Chadwick to ignore the situation she was going through with her own pay. However, he took a cut in his own salary in order for Sienna Miller to get equal pay. In her own words, Sienna Miller recalled “He said that, that was what I deserved to be paid.”
4.) Dedication to the Fans
It’s no secret that Chadwick had a lot of fans, but the ones closest to his heart were the youngest. Two years ago, Chadwick made an unforgettable visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN. The children, who come from across the world for cancer treatment, were incredibly excited to see Boseman. ‘Black Panther’ hit theaters just a couple months before his visit. While there, Chadwick made sure to individually greet every patient. He even took time to visit children who missed out on the bigger group visits due to the severity of their illnesses. Rick C. Shadyac, Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the hospital’s fundraising and awareness organization told ‘People,’ “he was different. He was power and grace and love, and of course filled with personal perspective.”
Chadwick Boseman’s connection to his fans was exemplified even more during a 2018 interview with SiriusXM. When speaking about the cultural impact of ‘Black Panther,’ Boseman chose to talk about two terminally ill boys who were looking forward to the release of the movie. Seeing how devoted his fans were, drove him to work harder, but also immensely humbled him. The emotional moment proved that Chadwick not only strove to create important art, but also to inspire the next generation.
3.) Thanking his heroes
It’s crazy to think that Chadwick Boseman almost never became an actor in the first place. While studying directing at Howard University, Boseman was given the opportunity by his mentor Phylicia Rashad, to study acting at the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in England. However, Chadwick could not afford the hefty tuition fees. Believing in him and the eight other students who could not afford the trip, Rashad reached out to several high profile friends for help. One of those friends was legendary Academy-Award winning actor Denzel Washington.
In a twist of fate, Washington ended up sponsoring Chadwick and the eight other actors. Attending the program in Oxford inspired Chadwick Boseman to take up acting full time. What really touched our hearts, was the moment when Chadwick decided to thank his benefactor. At an AFI tribute ceremony for Washington, Chadwick gave a speech personally thanking him. He said, “There is no ‘Black Panther’ without Denzel Washington.”
2.) An On Set Hero
You could argue that Chadwick Boseman’s co-stars were his biggest fans. In the aftermath of his death, many of them flocked to social media to share their own experiences with Chadwick on set. His ‘Black Panther’ co-star, Lupita Nyong’o wrote a lengthy post about their friendship, which began while filming the superhero movie.
“He showed up to every rehearsal and training and shoot day with his game face on.”
Danai Gurira, who plays General Okoye in ‘Black Panther’ remarked on how easy Chadwick had made her job.
“My entire job as Okoye was to respect and protect a king. Honor his leadership. Chadwick made that job profoundly easy. He was the epitome of kindness, elegance, diligence and grace.”
1.) MTV Movie Awards
Our final moment that proves Chadwick Boseman is a real life superhero was at the 2018 MTV Movie Awards. Fittingly, Boseman won the award of “Best Hero,” but instead of taking the moment on stage for himself, he decided to shine a light on someone else. As his guest, Boseman brought James Shaw Jr., who fought off a gunman in Antioch, Tennessee, at a Waffle House. Bringing James on stage, Chadwick gave his award to him saying, “this is gonna live at your house now.”
Being a true hero means not just fighting for those you love, but also giving acknowledgement to those who might otherwise be forgotten. Be it historical figures, children, fictional, or superheros Chadwick Boseman spent his entire career giving a voice to the voiceless. His legacy is one of love, honor, and determination. These are all qualities we can hope to strive for within ourselves.