'Black Panther' Cast And Crew Reflect On Chadwick Boseman's Death: 'How Do You Honor A King?'

August 31 2020

Along with Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, many of the cast and crew have written about their heartfelt grief after hearing the news of Boseman's death Friday. Their tributes, either posted to social media or given to the press, paint a consistent picture of a man who was years ahead of his time, urgently expressing his love for his people, his culture and his craft.

Danai Gurira, who played Dora Milaje general Okoye, posted her tribute to Twitter, including pictures of her with Boseman and their chairs on the set of Black Panther

How do you honor a king?" wrote Gurira in her tribute. "...I've always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure hearted, profoundly, generous, regal, fun guy. 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. On many an occasion I would think how thankful I was that he was the leading man I was working closely with. A true class act," she continued. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation."

Letitia Wright, who played T'Challa's sister Shuri, simply posted one tweet, writing, this hurts. really hurts."

Winston Duke, who portrayed M'Baku, also a tweet, My brother...my hero...my Black Panther."

He posted more on Instagram. With a picture of him and Boseman, Duke wrote, How do I start to honor a man who I saw as a giant in many ways; with whom I thought I had so much more time...I am absolutely devastated by the loss of my friend and hero, Chadwick Boseman..."

"I feel sick...I'm in pain and I can't believe he's gone," he continued, writing how Boseman was a lightning rod" for him and provided him direction. I knew I belonged because I could see myself in [Boseman]," he wrote. "[T]hat's what heroes do[.]"

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How do I start to honor a man who I saw as a giant in many ways; with whom I thought I had so much more time...I am absolutely devastated by the loss of my friend and hero, Chadwick Boseman... I feel sick ... I’m in pain and I can’t belive he’s gone. Chadwick was a lightning rod for me... he gave me direction... when I saw “42”, I said, I could be like THIS guy. I knew I belonged because I could see myself in you... that’s what heroes do... they seem familiar because they make it possible for us to see our potential best selves demonstrated through them... Through seeing Chad’s work, I was able to say, “I could be just like you one day“ and when I saw you in person for the first time... at my audition for Black Panther, you acknowledged me and my dream by saying, “he’s ready”! Man, your words that day made me feel like my dream was finally real! Chadwick then proceeded to show us collectively everyday on set what it was to be a leading man. Not only through his work but by how he welcomed and created a space for all of us to feel safe, open and bold ... You even worked with me 1 on 1, on our scenes, so that we could get it right, well before the day of the filming ....Chadwick, Thank you! Chadwick, you are the best...you are me and I’m you and we are all one! Thanks for being someone I could look up to on and off screen ... your calm confidence was inspiring and exemplary. Thanks for sharing with me... you go ahead ...you did your job and did it well! You will NEVER be forgotten. Your heroism is now legend. We’ll carry the load and honor your legacy, the rest of the way! Bless King! #chadwickboseman #wakandaforever

A post shared by Winston Duke (@winstoncduke) on Aug 31, 2020 at 8:45am PDT

Martin Freeman, who played government agent Everett Ross, gave a statement to Rolling Stone about Boseman's death.

I'm absolutely shocked. Chadwick was thoughtful, watchful, and totally committed in his work," he wrote. A boyish grin and a contagious laugh. To still do what he did, when he must have been going through some terrible physical and emotional pain, is testament to the man. My heartfelt condolences to his family and those he loved. Rest in Peace brother."

Angela Bassett, who played T'Challa's mother Queen Ramonda, posted two images to her Instagram of her and Boseman together in costume. One one of the posts, she wrote about "[i]t was meant to be" for her and Boseman to be friends.

During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day," she wrote. "And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever!"

We'd spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience," she continued. This young man's dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother[.]"

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“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother...”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar...”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever

A post shared by Angela Bassett (@im.angelabassett) on Aug 28, 2020 at 8:43pm PDT

Sterling K. Brown, who played Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan)'s father and T'Challa's uncle N'Jobu, retweeted the official death announcement from Boseman's Twitter page and wrote, I don't have the words. Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here. Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed."

Andy Serkis, who played Ulysses Klaue in the film, posted a statement to Twitter with the hashtag #WakandaForever.

It is inconceivable to think you are no longer with us Chad," he wrote. "This world needs you, now perhaps more than ever. Your quiet steel and raging fire beautifully tempered by the fact that you are an honorable, generous, humble human being."

A natural leader who eloquently and passionately seeks and stands for truth, whose art and life will shine as a beacon of inspiration for generations to come. Peace and love to you, and to your family."

Forest Whitaker, who played Wakandan spiritual leader Zuri, wrote on Twitter, Your light brightened our days. It will continue to brighten our hearts and minds."

Let the heavens be blessed as you illuminate the sky," he continued. "Sending my love and prayers to the family. May god continue to hold you in his everlasting embrace."

John Kani, who played T'Challa's father T'Chaka, wrote on Twiter about his deepest condolences" to Boseman's family and the Black Panther cast and crew, with the prayer of Boseman's soul to rest in peace.

For South African radio station 702, Kani said it was very rare" to have his relationship with Boseman.

I met him for the first time when we were doing Captain America: Civil War. I arrived on set and was being introduced to him...and he walked over to me and said 'Molo Baba.' He said, 'I did a movie in Cape Town and the guys I was working with in the crew gave me the name Mxolisi and gave me a few words.' I said to him: 'What a coincidence. My eldest son is Mxolisi, that means peacemaker.'" He also said the resemblance between Boseman and his son Atandwa, who played the younger version of T'Chaka, was "uncanny," adding that "both on set they were like my two sons." He also said that he felt the "urgency" in how Boseman carried himself was as if God was giving him a signal of his limited time.

Atandwa also wrote a tribute to Boseman on Instagram. In a series of posts, featuring images of him and Boseman together, Atandwa wrote, I have no words...I love you my brother...Lala ngoxolo mnta kamama...You will forever be remembered & loved...We Shall Continue The Fight."

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I have no words... I love you my brother.. #RIPChadwichBoseman ????????‍♂️

A post shared by Atandwa “The Prince” Kani (@atandwakani) on Aug 28, 2020 at 8:49pm PDT

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Lala ngoxolo mnta kamama... You will forever be remembered & loved..

A post shared by Atandwa “The Prince” Kani (@atandwakani) on Aug 29, 2020 at 8:52am PDT

View this post on Instagram

Rest Well My Brother. We Shall Continue The Fight... ???? Rest in Power Chad..

A post shared by Atandwa “The Prince” Kani (@atandwakani) on Aug 29, 2020 at 9:31am PDT

Black Panther set designer Hannah Beachler also posted her memories of Boseman on Twitter, writing in a series of posts how Boseman would always make sure to ask her how she was doing and if she was being treated commiserate to her worth.

He always looked out for us, always saw us," she wrote. I'm praying for his family, and hope they find solace in knowing he's in the land of peace, he's home now. Rest In Peace young King, your light will forever shine on us!"

Black Panther director of photography Rachel Morrison posted images from the scene where T'Challa visits the Ancestral Plane on Instagram. In her caption, she wrote, "I have vacillated between despair and disbelief since getting punched in the gut with the news of your death."

You, a contemplative and purposeful soul, with kind eyes and a cunning laugh. A friend, a collaborator, a visionary. Life is unjust and your loss is profoundly so--the weight of your absence shook the soil and rippled water in our collective consciousness. But just as the sorrow begins to overwhelm, I am reminded of all the life you lived even on your truncated journey...No one can say you did not live a full life in your 43 years."

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I have vacillated between despair and disbelief since getting punched in the gut with the news of your death. You, a contemplative and purposeful soul, with kind eyes and a cunning laugh. A friend, a collaborator, a visionary. Life is unjust and your loss is profoundly so — the weight of your absence shook the soil and rippled water in our collective consciousness. But just as the sorrow begins to overwhelm, I am reminded of all the life you lived even on your truncated journey. You danced hard and laughed loud and tasted boldly and taught fiercely and you gave so much of yourself to the craft you loved that it will have a destiny if its own. No one can say you did not live a full life in your 43 years. May we all recognize our own mortality and be our bravest, fullest, wildest, kindest selves. I hope that as you ascend to the ancestral plains, you are free of pain and full of laughter once more.

A post shared by Rachel Morrison, ASC. (@rmorrison) on Aug 31, 2020 at 12:01am PDT

 

READ MORE:

Chadwick Boseman Dies At 43 After Battle With Cancer

Ryan Coogler Pens Powerful Tribute To Chadwick Boseman: 'Chad Is An Ancestor Now'

Chadwick Boseman Was Always Focused: 'It Doesn't Matter Who It Is, You Still Have To Do Your Work'

Photo: Getty

by Monique Jones on August 31 2020

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