A heartbreaking tribute. Chadwick Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, delivered her first public remarks since the Black Panther star’s death at the 2021 Gotham Awards on Monday, January 11.
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Ledward, 30, recorded a special video message that aired during the Independent Filmmaker Project’s 30th annual ceremony, where Boseman was posthumously honored and also nominated in the Best Actor category for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. (The award went to Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal.)
“As an artist, an actor and a person, Chad made a practice of telling the truth,” she said. “He is the most honest person I’ve ever met. Because he didn’t just stop at speaking the truth. He actively searched for it — in himself, in those around him and in the moment. 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 a divine purpose for your life. And so, it became how he lived his life, day in, day out, imperfect but determined.”
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Ledward noted that the late actor was “blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one” thanks to the many roles that he took on over the years, including Jackie Robinson in 2013’s 42 and James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up.
“He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the one, the none and the all. ‘A vessel to be poured into and out of,’ he’d said,” she continued. “He harnessed the power of letting go and letting God’s love shine through. He realized that when one is able to recognize that when their strength does not come from themself, they rarely mess up. That’s what he was doing when he was acting. Modeling for us a path to true fulfillment.”
Ledward began to cry at the end of her powerful speech as she said, “Chad, thank you. I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us.”
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Boseman died at the age of 43 in August 2020. His family revealed in a statement to Us Weekly at the time that he had been secretly “diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV.”
The Howard University graduate did not have a will in place when he died. His wife filed a probate case in October 2020 to become the administrator of his estate.
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