*Los Angeles – In an industry not known for celebrating and elevating Black heroes, real and make believe, Chadwick Boseman leaves a legacy full of them.
His career grand slam includes barrier-breaking roles as the great Jackie Robinson, who destroyed Major League Baseball’s color line, in 42, soul music icon James Brown in Get On Up, legal mastermind Thurgood Marshall, who dealt Jim Crow its death blow, in Marshall and, of course, the magnificent and trailblazing Marvel superhero Black Panther.
His South Carolina upbringing, coupled with his college years at Howard University, fostered a strong sense of self and pride that enabled him to lend a regal air to all his roles. Humble in spirit but mighty in his deeds, Chadwick always maintained his dignity and never ever lost sight of what really mattered in life.
Even in the afterglow of his phenomenal Wakanda-forever global success, it was not uncommon for him to greet me first at industry events. Always ready to put in the work, he never stopped challenging himself as an actor. His role as fallen Vietnam squad leader Stormin Norman in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods and the upcoming film adaptation of pioneering playwright August Wilson’s award-winning Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom with Viola Davis is proof of that.
As we send love and strength to his family, circle of friends and his many admirers and fans, we, at the African American Film Critics Association/AAFCA, salute and applaud him for leaving an oeuvre of excellence that will instill pride and inspire the world forever. – Gil Robertson IV