Chadwick Boseman: How is Howard University honoring the ‘Black Panther’ star?
Howard University recently announced that its College of Fine Arts would be named after the late actor Chadwick Boseman. The Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts will celebrate the late actor’s legacy with a state-of-the-art new facility on the Washington D.C. campus.
Chadwick Boseman passed away at age forty-two after a long battle with colon cancer in 2020. Following his passing, colleagues & fans shared stories of the ways the actor inspired them and changed their lives.
Truth & Service
Chadwick Boseman was a Howard alumnus. He gave a powerful commencement speech in 2018 and was planning to serve on the board of the college before his untimely passing. As a student, Boseman led a protest against the absorption of the Fine Arts program into the College of Arts & Sciences. Phylicia Rashad, Boseman’s teacher & mentor when he studied at Howard, will serve as the dean of the fine arts school.
Rashad, in a statement about the naming, said: “Chadwick was possessed with a passion for inquiry and a determination to tell stories – through acting, writing, and directing – that revealed the beauty and complexity of our human spirit.”
Phylicia Rashad, along with actor Denzel Washington, raised money for Boseman and his classmates to attend a summer acting program at Balliol College, Oxford. The Black Panther actor originally wanted to write & direct and took to studying the art of acting in order to better connect with actors.
In 2003, Chadwick Boseman was cast in the daytime soap opera All My Children. He was fired from the show after raising concerns about racist stereotypes. Boseman’s future Black Panther adversary Michael B. Jordan replaced Boseman on the series. Boseman staged a production of a play he wrote entitled Deep Azure in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
Boseman’s major breakthrough happened in 2013 when he portrayed Jackie Robinson in the film 42. The movie wasn’t a critical success, but Boseman’s performance was universally lauded. Boseman was cast in Get on Up, a biopic about legendary musician James Brown.
In 2016, Chadwick Boseman began playing the Marvel Comics character T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character appeared in Civil War to set up a film focusing on the character, 2018’s Black Panther.
The film was eagerly anticipated and became one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Boseman’s role earned him a spot on Time’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. He was praised for bringing authenticity to the role as well as representing hope for a bright future for African Americans.
In 2019, Boseman was cast in Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. The actor was said to have jumped at the opportunity to work with veteran director Spike Lee and to bring an August Wilson play to the big screen. His performances in both films were lavishly praised by fans & critics, though unfortunately, they would be among his last.
Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, though he never spoke publicly about his illness. Few people outside of his family knew about his condition. He received chemotherapy and multiple surgeries all the while still working on numerous films.
The Walt Disney Company’s executive chairman Bob Iger announced that he will lead a fundraising effort to help build the new facility for the college and create an endowment in Boseman’s name. This honor amounts to much more than just Boseman’s name on a building and rather represents support for future Howard University students being able to pursue their dreams.
What do you think about Howard University naming its Fine Arts School after Chadwick Boseman? What are some of your favorite Chadwick Boseman roles? Let us know in the comments below.