Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman returned to his alma mater of Howard University and delivered a powerful commencement speech to the graduating class of 2018.
Boseman’s return to the historically black university located in Washington DC, from which he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in directing in 2000, comes just months after his rise to the status of an internationally recognizable star through the success of Marvel’s Black Panther earlier this year. Rather than speak about his current success, Boseman recalled a story from early in his career.
According to Boseman, he was cast in a soap opera on a major television network. His character was a young black man attracted to the life of a gang member. Boseman says he tried to imbue the character with a depth that was lacking in the writing. The executives working on the show were impressed and offered Boseman a long gig on the show, but turned on him when he started asking specific questions about his character’s history and when they discovered he graduated from Howard. He says he was let go the next day, but encouraged Howard’s class of 2018 to seek the harder and more rewarding path and to search for purpose rather than just a job or a career.
He closed the commencement with a “Howard forever” salute. You can watch the commencement speech in the video above.
Black Panther is still playing in theaters. The film has made $696.2 million domestically and $1.3 billion globally, becoming the second-highest grossing film of 2018 so far, the third highest-grossing film ever in the United States, and the ninth-highest grossing film ever worldwide.
Black Panther also placed highly on ComicBook.com's definitive ranking of all 19 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
Black Panther has become a cultural force, with the "Wakanda forever" salute being recognized as a symbol of cultural pride in the African-American community.
Boseman debuted as T'Challa in Captain America: Civil War in 2016 before headlining Black Panther. He is featured in a second major Marvel Studios blockbuster this year, Avengers: Infinity War, which is currently playing in theaters.
What did you think of Boseman's commencement speech? Let us know in the comments!
Black Panther is available as a digital download and releases on Blu-ray and DVD on May 15th.
Avengers: Infinity War is now playing in theaters. Other upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6th, Captain Marvel opens on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.