Lupita Nyong'o Pens a Touching Tribute to Chadwick Boseman

Bianca Betancourt, Amy Mackelden
·14 mins read
Photo credit: Cindy Ord - Getty Images
Photo credit: Cindy Ord - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

  • Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther costars have been paying tribute to the actor on social media.

  • Director Ryan Coogler, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Sterling K. Brown all shared moving messages about the star. Bassett called Boseman "a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother."

  • Boseman passed away age 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.

Following the sad news that Chadwick Boseman has died at age 43, his Black Panther costars have taken to social media to pay tribute to the inimitable performer.

After his 2016 diagnosis with cancer, Boseman continued to work on a number of movies, and inspired people worldwide in the role of King T'Challa in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His Black Panther costars celebrated the actor's life, his tremendous spirit and work ethic, and his precious friendship.

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o posted on Instagram a touching dedication to her Black Panther costar. Alongside a photo of the two embracing with Boseman mid-laugh, Nyong'o shared how much of an impact the actor had on her life in the short time the two knew each other.

"I am struggling to think and speak of my friend, Chadwick Boseman, in the past tense. It doesn't make sense. The news of his passing is a punch to my gut every morning," wrote the actress.

"When I was around Chadwick, I wanted to be better, less petty, more purposeful... He was fueled by love, not fear. He moved quietly, deliberately and without imposing himself or his ideals on others. And yet he also made damn sure that his life meant something," she added.

Michael B. Jordan

The actor took to Instagram to share a moving statement on his experience working alongside Boseman on Black Panther and how much his friendship with the actor mattered to him over the years.

"One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked, and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness. I wish we had more time," wrote Jordan on Instagram. "I'm more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did."

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been trying to find the words, but nothing comes close to how I feel. I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything. I wish we had more time. One of the last times we spoke, you said we were forever linked , and now the truth of that means more to me than ever. Since nearly the beginning of my career, starting with All My Children when I was 16 years old you paved the way for me. You showed me how to be better, honor purpose, and create legacy. And whether you’ve known it or not…I’ve been watching, learning and constantly motivated by your greatness. I wish we had more time. Everything you’ve given the world … the legends and heroes that you’ve shown us we are … will live on forever. But the thing that hurts the most is that I now understand how much of a legend and hero YOU are. Through it all, you never lost sight of what you loved most. You cared about your family , your friends, your craft, your spirit. You cared about the kids, the community, our culture and humanity. You cared about me. You are my big brother, but I never fully got a chance to tell you, or to truly give you your flowers while you were here. I wish we had more time. I'm more aware now than ever that time is short with people we love and admire. I’m gonna miss your honesty, your generosity, your sense of humor, and incredible gifts. I’ll miss the gift of sharing space with you in scenes. I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets. “Is this your king!?” Yes . he . is! Rest In Power Brother.

A post shared by Michael B. Jordan (@michaelbjordan) on Aug 31, 2020 at 4:47pm PDT

Letitia Wright

Wright produced a gorgeous spoken-word dedication to Boseman, which the Black Panther actress shared on Instagram with accompanying visuals. During her video, the actress revealed that she did not know her castmate was ill and battling cancer.

"Dark clouds surrounding, confusion setting in. Tears flowing, rivers so deep. I didn’t know this is what I was waking up to: my brother, an angel on earth, departed," said Wright. "A soul so beautiful, when you walked into the room, there was calm. You always moved with grace and ease. Every time I saw you, the world would be a better place."

Wright also posted a photo of her and Boseman sharing a hug, captioning it with white dove emoji.

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🕊🕊🕊

A post shared by letitiawright (@letitiawright) on Sep 1, 2020 at 5:17pm PDT

Ryan Coogler

The Black Panther director shared a statement that honored Boseman and looked back at their precious time working together on the history-making Marvel film. "I haven't grieved a loss this acute before," Coogler wrote in part of his tribute. "I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren't destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won't be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.

"It hurts more to know that we can't have another conversation, or facetime, or text message exchange. He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic. He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer.

"In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad's character, T'Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It's no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again."

Read Coogler's full message here.

Danai Gurira

Gurira shared a message honoring Boseman on Twitter, along with a photo of herself hugging the actor and an image of their monogrammed chairs together. "How do you honor a king?" she began her tribute. "Reeling from the loss of my colleague, my friend, my brother. Struggling for words. Nothing feels adequate. I always marveled at how special Chadwick was. Such a pure-hearted, profoundly generous, regal, fun guy."

She continued, recalling starring opposite Boseman as General Okoye to his King T'Challa. "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. And so perfectly equipped to take on the responsibility of leading the franchise that changed everything for Black representation."

Later, she added, "The children he inspired, my heart aches for them, to lose their hero just as they finally found him. I am so thankful to have taken the Black Panther journey with him. To have known him, spent time in his light and leadership and to call him forever a friend. Lala Ngoxolo Kumkani."

Winston Duke

Duke, who portrayed T'Challa's rival-turned-ally M'Baku on Black Panther, honored Boseman with a heartfelt tribute on Instagram. "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," he captioned a photo with the late actor. "I am absolutely devastated by the loss of my friend and hero, Chadwick Boseman..."

Duke reminisced about the way Boseman inspired his work and gave him direction. "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!" he wrote.

He later expressed his gratitude to Boseman for being a role model and for their time spent together. "Thanks for being someone I could look up to on and off screen ... your calm confidence was inspiring and exemplary," Duke added. "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!"

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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

He also tweeted, "My brother... my hero ... my Blackpanther..."

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett shared two Instagram posts following the news that Boseman had passed away. After sharing a beautiful montage of them together, Bassett wrote, "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," Bassett continued. "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."

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💔

A post shared by Angela Bassett (@im.angelabassett) on Aug 28, 2020 at 8:34pm PDT

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker paid tribute to Boseman on Twitter. "Your light brightened our days," he wrote. "It will continue to brighten our hearts and minds. Let the heavens be blessed as you illuminate the sky. Sending my love and prayers to the family. May god continue to hold you in his everlasting embrace. RIP Chadwick."

Sterling K. Brown

Brown, who costarred with Boseman in Black Panther and Marshall, wrote, "I don’t have 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."

This story has been updated.

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