The world was shocked when Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman died at age 43 last August from stage III colon cancer. Now, his widow has spoken out for the first time since his death at the IFP Gotham Awards.
Simone Ledward Boseman accepted the Gotham Awards Tribute prize on behalf of her late husband. And in a moving speech, she said that Chadwick Boseman was “the most honest person I’d ever met.”
On the subject of truth, she said that her husband “actively searched for it, in himself, those around him and the moment. The truth can be a very easy thing for the self to avoid. But if one does not live in truth, then it’s impossible to live life.”
This approach to truth affected how Chadwick Boseman approached both his film career and his daily life. According to Simone, her husband was “imperfect but determined. He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the one, the none and the all. ‘A vessel to be poured into and out of,’ he’d said.”
Furthermore, she highlighted that his acting career is a model for fans to find their own truth and enlightenment. “He harnessed the power of letting go, and letting God’s love shine through. He realized that when one is able to recognize that when their strength does not come from themself, they rarely mess up. That’s what he was doing when he was acting. Modeling for us a path to true fulfillment.”
Simone wrapped up her thoughts about her husband’s legacy by saying, “May we not let his conviction be in vain. May our spirits be fertile soil for God’s wisdom to fall upon. So thank you. Praise God.” And things got even more emotional at the very end of her speech.
She said she was honored to receive the award and that the prize was an “acknowledgment of not only his profound work but of his impact on this industry and this world.” And just in case there were any dry eyes left in the house, she finished by saying, “Chad, thank you. I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us. Thank you.”
Chadwick Boseman’s legacy lives on beyond this prize. You can watch his stunning performance in the Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Netflix has announced they will campaign to posthumously nominate Boseman for Best Actor for this film and Best Supporting Actor for his role in another Netflix film: Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods.