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Chadwick Boseman: In His Own Words

On what would be his 46th birthday, we're remembering the 'Black Panther' actor with some of his most prolific quotes.

Chadwick Boseman's tragic death caused many to reflect on his talent, depth and grace. The Black Panther star was intentional in the roles he chose on camera, and spoke at length about what it means to be "young, gifted and Black" off camera.

Below, we've compiled six quotes from the celebrated actor that will remind us of the great legacy he left behind, and will echo across generations.

  • Howard University Commencement Speech (2018)

    During a 2018 commencement speech at his alma mater Howard University, Boseman commended the graduating seniors for helping stage a nine-day protest to get university officials to amend school policies related to housing and campus policing.

    "That's why I view your recent protest as such an accomplishment for both sides of the debate, student and administration," Boseman said of the protest. "I didn't come here to take sides. My interest is what's best for the school."

    Boseman explained how he was fired from a soap opera after questioning his character's storyline and how he used that as inspiration to move forward.

    "As conflicted as I was before I lost the job, as adamant as I was about the need to speak truth to power, I found myself even more conflicted afterwards," he said. "I stand here today knowing that my Howard University education prepared me to play Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and T'Challa," he said.

    He ended by quoting Scripture, encouraging students to seek what they feel they are called to do.

    "As you commence to your paths, press on with pride and press on with purpose. God bless you. I love you, Howard. Howard forever!" he concluded.

  • SAG Awards Speech (2019)

    “To be young, gifted and Black,” said Boseman during his acceptance speech, addressing Black Panther's influence on the film industry. “We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet you are young, gifted and Black. We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above.

    “That is what we went to work with every day,” he continued. “Because we knew … that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

  • On acting versatility (2014)

    “You’re not free unless you can show the good and the bad, all sides of them. So to me, when I play a character, it’s important that I can show every aspect of them.” - Shadow and Act

  • On The need for love (2014)

    "I think you realize how much you need to have people that you love. It's not as much about them loving you - it's about you needing to love people." - GQ

  • On Standing strong as a Black Man In America (2019)

    “You’re a strong black man in a world that conflicts with that strength, that really doesn’t want you to be great. So what makes you the one who’s going to stand tall?” - New York Times

  • On being fearless (2017)

    "I was raised in a sort of village. I have a huge family, and I think there is strength in that. It helped me to deal with some of the complications of living in the South because I always felt like I belonged, no matter what." -  Garden & Gun

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