Chadwick Boseman's widow, Simone Ledward, honors him at Gotham Awards: 'Keep shining your light on us'

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

Chadwick Boseman’s widow, Simone Ledward, got emotional paying tribute to him at Monday’s hybrid virtual/live Gotham Awards.

The Black Panther actor, who died from colon cancer in August at age 43, was honored at the event with the Actor Tribute Award. First, André Holland, who appeared in the film 42 with Boseman, spoke, talking about how Boseman “always kept himself committed to his craft.” Then Ledward had her chance and gave a glimpse of the man she knew.

Taylor Simone Ledward paid tribute to late husband Chadwick Boseman during Monday’s virtual Gotham Awards.
Taylor Simone Ledward paid tribute to late husband Chadwick Boseman during Monday’s virtual Gotham Awards.

“He was the most honest person I ever met, because he didn’t just stop at speaking the truth: he actively searched for it in himself and those around him and in the moment,” Ledward said according to IndieWire. “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 in line with the divine purpose for your life. And so it became how he lived his life, day in and out. Imperfect but determined.”

She continued, “In doing so, he was able to give himself over fully in every moment, to be totally present in his own life and in the lives of people he became. He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the none, the one, and the all. ‘A vessel to be poured into and out of,’ he said. “He harnessed the power of letting go and letting God’s love shine through… [He] was not merely telling a story or reading lines on a page, but modeling a path to true fulfillment.”

Ledward became emotional while speaking — especially when delivering a personal message as she wrapped up.

“It is my honor to receive this award on behalf of my husband. In acknowledgment not only of his profound work but of his impact on this industry and this world,” she said, “Chad, thank you, I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us.”

Boseman had also been nominated in the Best Actor category thanks for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but the award went to Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal.

Ledward’s marriage to Boseman was only made public after he died. They started dating in 2015 and became engaged in 2019. The wedding reportedly took place leading up to his death.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 22: Taylor Simone Ledward and Chadwick Boseman attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on October 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Simone Ledward and Chadwick Boseman attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center in 2019. (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Boseman had secretly battled colon cancer for four years, enduring many operations and treatments — and Ledward had his back.

“It’s fascinating that nobody knew,” Denzel Washington said in December of working with Boseman on his final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. “Well, credit to him; he kept it to himself. It was nobody’s business. He was there to deliver and he delivered. Certain members of his team knew. His wife was there. They weren’t even married yet. And I used to watch how she took care of him, and I actually said to him, I said, ‘Man, you know, you need to put a ring on that finger,’ ‘cause she kept her eye on him and she watched him. And I’m like, ‘Man, she loves that guy.’ You know, but I didn’t know what we know now.”

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