In the flurry of complex feelings around the passing of Chadwick Boseman, many fans are taking solace in the inspiring connection between Boseman's career and actor Denzel Washington. The story of how Washington anonymously supported Boseman and other actors gave social media some hope this weekend, amid all the other bad news. Now, many are looking for lessons to take from the two.
Boseman was an alumnus of Howard University — an esteemed historically Black university where he studied directing. He was among a group of promising acting students accepted to a summer acting program at Oxford University in London, but the group lacked the money for the trip. Their professor, actress Phylicia Rashad, asked for help from Washington, who quietly donated the money. Now, fans are looking back on the cultural ripple effects of that moment of generosity.
So Denzel once paid Chadwick Boseman's Tuition. This speech is very moving, Denzel was emotional pic.twitter.com/vHykJKpttq— bezaleel (@realbezaleel) May 26, 2020
Boseman told the story himself during a speech at the AFI awards, with Washington sitting in the audience. Washington seemed to be caught off guard by the honor, tears coming to his eyes as Boseman thanked him, and said: "there is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington."
Boseman later revealed in an interview with Jimmy Fallon that he did not even know Washington was his beneficiary until he returned from London. He described how Washington's generosity impacted his own philosophy on paying things forward and being mindful of your own cultural impact.
The story touched hearts all across social media as it resurfaced this weekend, following the news of Boseman's death. The actor had kept his four-year battle with colon cancer a secret, even as he starred in some of the biggest blockbuster films of the last decade. His family revealed the news on Friday, shortly after he passed peacefully at home with them.
There is no doubt that Boseman's impact looms just as large in many fans' lives. Here is a look at how Twitter reacted to the story of Boseman and Washington this weekend.
“Let he who has watered, be watered. Let he who has given, he given to.” - Chadwick Boseman
This tribute he did to Denzel Washington was beautiful and is now fitting for his own legacy. pic.twitter.com/NhijcRrfyX— layla, fresh out of tweeter jail (@MindOfLayla) August 29, 2020
"Boseman’s final film is Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, an adaptation of the August Wilson play of the same name that will be released later this year by Netflix. And it is produced by Denzel Washington—the man who, years later, Boseman would discover paid for his trip to Oxford." https://t.co/289DwwFuAj— 25th Century Girl (@25thcenturygirl) August 29, 2020
We all heard the story about Denzel Washington paying for Chadwick Boseman acting classes at Oxford. Well Zel met up with Chad at a screening for BP and said, “Wakanda forever, but where is my money.”July 20, 2018
Here's Denzel (hilariously) discussing it: pic.twitter.com/CWWW8bMliC— Marlow Stern (@MarlowNYC) August 29, 2020
He got more then his money's worth, its too sad that he had to leave us.....my heart is broken......he will be terribly missed....💔— O Don't Go (@lolagirl2007) August 30, 2020
Power of Wealth
THIS is how wealth lifts up those trying to find a way to prosper. Whether it comes from a heroic individual or the government, the path for the next generation needs this generosity. One gesture can change lives.— a y e - z (@azak1998) August 29, 2020
Even Boseman couldn't get ahead on his talents, needed extra cash and going to the 'right school' capitalism destroys everything— runningtoss (@alinqot) August 29, 2020
Denzel Washington's Statement
Denzel Washington said in a statement to THR, "He was a gentle soul and a brilliant artist, who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career. God bless Chadwick Boseman" https://t.co/j7rgZjWSzZ pic.twitter.com/DYydl4bUPD— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 29, 2020
To anyone in the replies confused...Denzel produced the Netflix original film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman releasing sometime in the future.— . (@JustJordan_925) August 29, 2020