June 24, 2024

Winston Duke, Phylicia Rashad remember Chadwick Boseman during ABC special

Chadwick Boseman poses for a photo at The Fulton in New York City in November 2019. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for STXfilms)

Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute For a King aired last night following the commercial-free debut of Black Panther on ABC.

Airing just two days after the family of the 43-year-old actor announced his passing, the special featured appearances by cast members from the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker and Winston Duke all offered messages about what made Boseman an iconic actor.

Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg also appeared.

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s final post the most liked tweet ever, Twitter announces

Actor Robert Downey, Jr., who played Iron Man, said that he reached out to Boseman after the police killing of George Floyd. Downey referred to the slaying as a “murder,” saying that Boseman helped him “reframe” the incident.

Downey said that “Black Panther was hands-down the crowning achievement of the Marvel Universe.” He said that the film was one where “people got to vote with ticket sales.” He said that the movie “leveled the playing field.”

Sen. Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said that Boseman’s last tweet, which celebrated her nomination, “encouraged citizens to exercise their right to vote.” Opined Harris: “It is so reflective of Chadwick.”

Read More: Chadwick Boseman’s family confirms he and Taylor Simone Ledward married before his death

Phylicia Rashad recalled her time as a teacher at Howard University when Boseman attended the HBCU. “I received a call from one of the students in the class who said, ‘Ms. Rashad, we wanted you to know we auditioned for the British Academy of Dramatic Arts’ mid-summer program, and we got in.’ I said, ‘That’s great,’ and they said, ‘But we’re not going to go because it’s too expensive.’”

Rashad told the students to pack their bags.

“I made a phone call to a friend of mine,” she continued, “and he called me back, and we talked about it for about five minutes. And he said, ‘Okay, I got this money.’”

Read More: Danai Gurira: Chadwick Boseman was exactly like Black Panther

That friend was Denzel Washington.

Boseman thanked Washington during a June 2019 tribute to the Oscar-winner by the American Film Institute, telling everyone assembled: “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.”

The special’s host, “Good Morning, America’s” Robin Roberts — herself a cancer survivor — said that it was “generous” of Boseman to visit children who were suffering from cancer while, unknown to others, he was also battling the disease.

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