The Stand Up To Cancer special on Saturday included a heartbreaking tribute to Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who died after a battle with colon cancer in August 2020. His widow, Simone Boseman, performed the song "I'll Be Seeing You," with Black-ish actor Anthony Anderson introducing her. Boseman fought a private battle with colon cancer for four years, keeping his diagnosis private while still making films. He was 43.
Before Simone performed, Stand Up To Cancer co-host Anderson noted that "I'll Be Seeing You" is a "song about living with the reality of loss and finding a way forward," notes Deadline. The song was written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal in 1938 and has been recorded many times since. Simone sang the song with just a pianist, bassist, and drummer behind her.
We are honored to have Chadwick's wife #SimoneBoseman here tonight. Her incredibly powerful performance reminds us that we all have heroes in our lives. Now is the time to Stand Up for them and with them. 🧡 Give now at https://t.co/tNxh7oe6XK. pic.twitter.com/EwcyolYVmM— Stand Up To Cancer (@SU2C) August 22, 2021
"Many of us were devastated to learn of Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing after he privately grappled with cancer for several years. The world lost an incredible artist and a true hero. But before he was a public figure, he was a person like you or me: a son, a brother, uncle, cousin, friend, colleague, husband," Anderson said. "Many of us are all too familiar with the fracture a dearly loved one's passing leaves in the lives of those who love them."
The broadcast aired a few days after Boseman's final performance as T'Challa was released. On Wednesday, Disney+ released an episode of Marvel's What If...? that imagined Boseman's Black Panther character as Star-Lord, the hero Chris Pratt plays in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The episode included a dedication to Boseman at the end.
Boseman shot to fame with his roles as Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up before he was cast as T'Challa for Captain America: Civil War. He reprised the role in Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. He earned a posthumous Oscar nomination for Best Actor thanks to his performance in Netflix's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
While some movie stars may have phoned in a voice performance for an animated series, Boseman took his What If...? episode seriously, director Bryan Andrews told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. Boseman "really enjoyed the idea of being able to play this slightly different version of T'Challa," Andrews explained. "The events are so extremely different, but the galaxy doesn't change T'Challa; T'Challa changes the galaxy." Andrews added that Boseman recorded lines for other episodes that will be released in the future.
"Chadwick Boseman understood the importance of Black Panther. He understood how important it is that young people see a Black man standing shoulder to shoulder with Captain America and Thor Odinson so that they know a Black man saves the world just the same as anyone else," Anderson told THR. "He came in to record, and I joked that he didn't bring his A-game; he brought every damn sport there is. He made sure that this was going to be the episode that shined, but we did not realize why. And the world is a little sadder for it."