Remembering Chadwick Boseman: Letitia Wright, Phylicia Rashad, Michael B. Jordan, and More Continue to Pay Tribute [Updated]

Illustration for article titled Remembering Chadwick Boseman: Letitia Wright, Phylicia Rashad, Michael B. Jordan, and More Continue to Pay Tribute [Updated]
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer (Getty Images)

Tributes continue to pour in for Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 on Friday after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

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On Monday, Letitia Wright—who portrayed King T’Challa’s sister Shuri in Black Panther—performed a spoken word piece she wrote in honor of her movie brother. In the five-minute clip, she details the day they first met, and how she aims to carry on his legacy in the years to come. The video was filled with images and videos of the world’s natural beauty, including sunsets, flowers, and rain, and also featured footage of them working and hanging out.

“A soul so beautiful, when you walked into a room, there was calm. You always moved with grace and ease,” Wright says. “Every time I saw you, the world would be a better place.” When news first broke of Boseman’s death, Wright tweeted that the loss “really hurts.”

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Phylicia Rashad, who served as Boseman’s acting teacher and mentor at Howard University, discussed her experiences with him through the years with Rolling Stone. She stated that he was “very conscientious” when it came to the roles he selected and that during his time as her student, he was “specific, detailed, and thorough,” as well as “respectful, polite and courteous.”

“I watch his movies every time they come on television and I marvel at his work,” she continued. “It’s like butter, whatever he is, it’s that smooth. He is one of the greatest actors ever. He was just beginning to do the things that he had intended to do because he was a great storyteller.”

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Clarke Peters, who acted alongside Boseman in the Spike Lee-directed Netflix film Da 5 Bloods, was interviewed by Good Morning Britain about his co-star. He admitted that he passed judgment on the actor during filming, and now expresses his regret and sends his condolences.

“I probably wasn’t the most altruistic in that environment,” he says, adding that he told his wife that people appeared to be “fawning” over him on set, which prompted him to believe Boseman was acting like a big shot.

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“I’m thinking maybe the Black Panther thing went to his head,” he continues before choking up. “But now, I regret even having those thoughts because they were really looking after him.”

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There have also been calls to erect physical and tangible tributes to Chadwick Boseman’s legacy, some of which have been successful. According to TMZ, Boseman’s high school, T.L. Hanna in South Carolina, is aiming to begin a memorial scholarship in Boseman’s name. They are working with Boseman’s family on the development of the award, and hope to raise enough funds to make the scholarship a sustainable one.

Per Variety, thousands of people also reportedly signed a petition to replace a Confederate statue in Boseman’s hometown of Anderson, S.C. After receiving more signatures than expected, the petition now has a goal of 35,000 backers.

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“I believe the community should come together to honor someone from Anderson, South Carolina, that was able to change the movie industry,” the petition reads. “He opened many doors for many young Black people with his leading roles in movies such as Black Panther or Marshall. It is only natural that his hometown honors what he did.”

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Lastly, Whoopi Goldberg urgently tweeted that Disney World needs to erect a Wakanda attraction in honor of Boseman’s legacy, stating that “another Frozen Land” isn’t necessary. According to CNN, there are Frozen-themed attractions and experiences in Orlando’s Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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While many have agreed with The View host (over 58,000 people have liked her tweet), there’s no official statement from Disney World regarding the possibility of bringing Wakanda to their gates. Disney Parks announced via Twitter in 2019 that Marvel-themed experiences, such as meet-and-greets with members of Wakanda, Iron Man, Black Widow and more of the Avengers, would be possible at the parks.

Updated: Wednesday, 9/2/2020, 5:11 p.m., ET: Michael B. Jordan, who playe Eric Killmonger in Black Panther, also shared his warm memories with Boseman and thoughts on his untimely death.

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Via Instagram, he wrote:

I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything.

I wish we had more time.

One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness.

I wish we had more time.

Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family, your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here.

I wish we had more time.

I’m more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets. “Is this your king!?” Yes . he . is! Rest In Power Brother.

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Additionally, Black Panther’s Oscar-winning production designer Hannah Beachler tweeted about her experiences with Boseman on set, writing that he was “always uplifting us,” and that she is praying for his family.

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On Instagram, Black Panther’s Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth Carter wrote about her experiences working with Boseman, which began with the film Marshall. It was at the start of that film’s production that she discovered they’d be working together again on Black Panther immediately after—but didn’t share the news with Boseman, as their working relationship was new and as yet unproven. When she finally disclosed to him that they’d be reunited on the Marvel blockbuster, she learned that he’d known the entire time.

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“That was the man he was,” she wrote. “He could keep it simple. Hold on to integrity. Allow the process to unfold. And in alignment with you. We went on to work together on Black Panther with the highest level of respect and trust. And the rest is history.”

Pronounced "Jay-nuh."

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DISCUSSION

If they make a Wakanda land, the Black Panther statue is going to be knee high in flowers.
Goddamn, these amusement parks are going to have my grown ass crying in them now.