Obamas honor Chadwick Boseman: ‘He was blessed’
Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama on Saturday paid tribute to “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman after the 43-year-old actor died from cancer.
Barack Obama resurfaced a picture Boseman shared in July 2016 after visiting the White House to work with kids while portraying the MLB’s first Black player Jackie Robinson.
“You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years” the former president wrote.
Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson. You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years. https://t.co/KazXV1e7l7
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 29, 2020
He shared more pictures from the visit on his Instagram.
The former first lady reminisced about watching the film “42” in which Boseman portrayed the legendary Brooklyn Dodger.
“Barack and I were alone in the White House, on a weekend night with the girls away. I was so profoundly moved by the rawness and emotion in the barrier-breaking story,” she recalled.
Upon meeting him in the White House State Dining Room, Michelle Obama reflected on Boseman’s “warmth and sincerity in person.”
“There’s a reason he could play Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and King T’Challa with such captivating depth and honesty. He, too, knew what it meant to truly persevere,” she wrote. “He, too, knew that real strength starts inside. And he, too, belongs right there with them as a hero—for Black kids and for all of our kids. There’s no better gift with which to grace our world.”
Boseman was an ambassador with Michelle Obama’s nonpartisan initiative “When We All Vote.”
The Obamas joined Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) in honoring Boseman.
The actor was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer four years ago, according to a statement posted to the actor’s Twitter account on Friday night confirming his death.
He is known for portraying iconic Black characters on the big screen, including the nation’s first Black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and the “Godfather of Soul” singer and songwriter James Brown.
Boseman is perhaps best known for his role in Disney and Marvel universe as the “Black Panther,” Wakanda King T’Challa.
The 2018 film was one of the highest-grossing superhero films and was the first Marvel movie to feature a majority-Black main cast.
Michelle Obama celebrated the success of the film’s release.
“Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team! Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen,” she tweeted at the time. “I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.”
The blockbuster film was used by activist group Electoral Justice Project as a massive voter registration effort called #WakandaTheVote aimed at Black voters.