Chadwick Boseman died at age 43 last week after a four-year secret battle with colon cancer and while he was a successful entertainer, the actor was also a man of faith.
Popularly known as King T’Challa in the iconic “Black Panther” movie, Boseman was raised in a Christian home and, according to multiple reports, was baptized at Welfare Baptist Church in Anderson, South Carolina. The actor kept his faith into adulthood and often professed his Christian beliefs.
The “Get on Up” star who played James Brown referenced his Christian faith while honoring Denzel Washington in 2019 with the AFI Life Achievement Award. Boseman quoted Ephesians 3:20 and publicly told the actor, “May God bless you exceedingly and abundantly more for what’s in store than He ever has before.”
It was during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon that Boseman revealed the Academy Award-winning actor Washington actually paid for his studies abroad at the British American Drama Academy over 20 years ago. Washington did not know who he was helping at the time.
Following his death, the legendary actor described Boseman as “a gentle soul and a brilliant artist who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career.”
In 2018, Boseman, once again quoted Scripture openly while delivering the commencement address at his alma mater, Howard University. His speech referenced several Bible passages, including Jeremiah 29:11.
“Sometimes, you need to feel the pain and sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose God has predestined inside of you. God says in Jeremiah, ‘I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future,’” he told the graduating class.
“Graduating class, hear me well on this day. … This day when you have reached the hilltop, and you are deciding on next jobs, next steps, careers, further education, you would rather find purpose than a job or career.
“When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who stands against it. God will move someone that is holding you back away from the door and put someone there who will open it for you, if it’s meant for you. I don’t know what your future is. But if you’re willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that has ultimately proven to have more meaning, more victory, more glory, then you will not regret it.”
Around the same time of his commencement address, Pastor Samuel Neely, the actor’s childhood pastor, praised Boseman for his commitment to his Christian faith.
Despite his accomplishments in Hollywood, the retired pastor said he could “still see the person I knew as a child.”
“When I see him, it’s almost like seeing my own child, he’s still Chad,” the minister told WHNS-TV. “He did a lot of positive things within the church and within the community. With him singing in the choir, with him working the youth group, he always was doing something, always helping out, always serving. That was his personality."
Upon hearing the news of his death, one of Boseman’s “Black Panther” co-stars who has also been outspoken about her Christian faith, Letitia Wright, tweeted, “This hurts. Really hurts.”
Fellow actor Josh Gad honored Boseman’s memory on Instagram by sharing the final text message conversation he had with the artist. Boseman encouraged Gad to “catch the rain,” appreciate every moment, and “enjoy the simplicity of God’s creation.”
The impactful actor told Gad, “We should take advantage of every moment we can to enjoy the simplicity of God’s creation, whether it be clear skies and sun or clouded over with gloom. And hey, if the air is this clear right now, and it does rain tomorrow, I might even put jars and bins out and catch the rain. Throw that in the water filter and have a water more alkaline than any bottled brand out there.”