Howard U Students, Alumni Pen Tributes to Chadwick Boseman
It’s been a month since the death of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman who has been memorialized in so many ways these past 30 days. Disneyland recently unveiled a mural titled “King Chad” by Hampton University graduate Nikkolas Smith and a memorial on Howard University's campus was set up to honor the late actor who died after a four-year battle with colon cancer in August.
Boseman was a beloved Howard alumnus who visited frequently and spoke at his alma mater’s commencement ceremony in 2018. In his honor, students are actively taking steps to rename the Division of Fine Arts to the “Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts” and reintroduce it as one of Howard’s 13 stand alone schools and colleges. The Wakandan prince graduated from what was then the College of Fine Arts in 2000 which later merged into the College of Arts and Sciences as the Division of Fine Arts.
To commemorate Boseman's love for Howard, his life and legacy, COSMiC collected five tributes to the fallen Bison from Howard University students and alumni.
Maya Shed | Division of Fine Arts
On his shoulders we stand.
Howard University’s Division of Fine Arts has produced countless legendary alumni. As a theatre arts student, you enter Childers Hall acknowledging the greatness that came before you. Various memorabilia remind us of alumni who graced our halls. Of these alumni, Chadwick Boseman resonates most with me. Maybe it was his extraordinary acting and flawless representation of Black excellence or his on-campus premieres. He always made time for photos and conversations with fine arts students.
Perhaps it was the rhythmic soul of his 2018 commencement address. He and our president
announced the re-establishment of the College of Fine Arts; an action over 20 years in the making that Chadwick fought for as an undergraduate. Working backstage that day gave me an unforgettable opportunity to be in his presence.
The impact Chadwick left on me exceeds his campus presence. It’s rooted in the love, grace and persevering spirit behind each of his actions. Humbly, on his shoulders we stand, it’s my hope we live up to his legacy.
Julia Osagie | College of Arts and Sciences
Chadwick - your raw talent, pursuit of your wildest dreams and seemingly intentional choice of
what roles to dedicate your gift to, made you an inspiration to millions and especially the
Black community. In a time where we are exhausted and emotionally depleted, Chadwick
sought to provide light and empowerment. And when we consider the level of sacrifice
Chadwick made to produce the greatest cinematic works of our generation, his gift is made all
the more special. We are eternally grateful.
In the same year Black Panther made its record-breaking debut, I had the honor of
meeting Chadwick at Howard University’s commencement dinner. He spoke of his time at the
Mecca - our sacred stomping ground - where he gained community and was nurtured into his
greatness. I think of our shared legacy and all the ways Howard challenged us to be excellent, to take pride in it, to serve, uplift and share our talents with the world.
Because of you Chadwick, we are reminded to give our best always. The world needs it.
Morgan Richard | School of Communications
Chadwick - the amount of influence you had in such a short amount of time is extremely powerful. You made kids believe they can be whatever they set their mind too and that influence poured over into adults and most importantly, the Black community. Thank you for sharing your effortless grace with the world and showcasing your love for art and meaning with us. You are forever immortalized in our hearts. We will carry you in rooms where we may have been afraid to speak.
Madison Metivier | Division of Fine Arts
As a fine arts graduate, there has always been a common understanding of the magic the college produces and energy the building holds. We are blessed to be educated in the artistic traditions of our ancestors and hold their truths and lessons in all of us. Often, Black creativity is seen as just a hobby-like outlet for most and rarely a path taken - we choose that path everyday.
Chadwick represented where that path leads fine arts students from Howard. He gave us a lesson in keeping with the path and gave the world a gift which is the magic that fine arts instills in all of us.
Andante Petit - Homme | School of Communications
Mavericks are defined as independent-minded people. They are unorthodox and live to their specific code of ethics to embark wisdom upon others. That is exactly what Chadwick Boseman did throughout his life!
I met with him multiple times throughout my time at Howard. He would come by and reminisce in the hallways of his old alma mater and say hello to former instructors and faculty.
One time during work-study, I introduced myself to him. He then asked for my name and told me “you have a special energy about yourself. Reminds me a little of me when I was younger. Focus that energy, hone in and you’ll reap the benefits later."
Ever since that day, I have subconsciously been putting out into the universe what it is I want for my life. I want to produce great work others can connect to, but also prove to myself I am more than enough and capable of doing said work.
After graduating Howard, I hopped on a plane to Los Angeles with a few bags, $700 and a Dunkin Donuts gift card and planned to do the work to honor and continue the legacy laid out by my HU predecessor, Chadwick Boseman.
May his spirit live on in all of us!