BY DWAYNE ASHLEY
Most knew the late Chadwick Boseman as a great actor who starred in numerous box office hits. However, in my opinion, his most significant role was Chadwick Boseman, the Philanthropist.
From his roots in Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman had first-hand knowledge of the importance of helping people, as others had helped him on his road to stardom. Back in the 1990s at Howard University Boseman’s mentor/acting teacher was actress Phylicia Rashad. She knew he was special. So when she learned that he needed sponsorship to attend the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program at England’s prestigious Oxford University, Rashad asked actor/director Denzel Washington if he would pay his tuition. He said, yes!
Boseman never forgot Washington’s act of kindness and would often say that there would be no Black Panther without his support. In 2018, the actor went back to his alma mater, delivering a powerful commencement speech at Howard University, where he encouraged students to rise above traumatic experiences, among other subjects.
Boseman’s philanthropic deeds were numerous and unparalleled. For example, he donated his limited personal time to work with several cancer foundations even while he suffered in relative silence with his own four-year battle with Colon Cancer. He frequented St. Jude’s and other childhood cancer treatment centers to surprise young fans with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In April 2020, the actor donated $4.2 million worth of PPE equipment to hospitals serving Black communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boseman once said, “You can never go wrong when you invest in kids’ futures.” Standing by his motto, he donated $10,000 of his own money to provide free Black Panther tickets to The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. Later, he encouraged Disney’s decision to donate $400 million to charitable causes.
As an activist, Boseman supported social justice initiatives like Michelle Obama’s #WhenWeAllVote. Very much interested in politics, his last Twitter post celebrated Senator Kamala Harris’ history-making selection as the Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee for the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.
His acts of kindness will not go unnoticed. The Jackie Robinson Foundation stated that Boseman helped the organization advance its goal to provide scholarship, mentorship, leadership conferences and job placement opportunities for youth. As fate would have it, Boseman passed away on August 28, 2020, the same day that Major League Baseball celebrated baseball icon’s Jackie Robinson Day.
Bridge Philanthropic Consulting (BPC) knows that the world lost one of the great ones when he died at age 43. Boseman’s values were deeply rooted in giving back and helping others. He fulfilled his destiny, and we hope that the world will continue to view him as a superhuman being who loved supporting worthwhile causes.