On Tuesday, actress Lupita Nyong'o posted a lengthy public tribute to her Black Panther co-star, Chadwick Boseman. Boseman passed away on Friday, Aug. 28, to the surprise of fans and colleagues. Nyong'o is one of many friends who took her time processing her grief before addressing Boseman's death publicly.
"I write these words from a place of hopelessness, to honor a man who had great hope. I am struggling to think and speak about my friend, Chadwick Boseman, in the past tense. It doesn't make sense. The news of his passing is a punch to my gut every morning," Nyong'o began. She played Nakia in Black Panther — a Wakandan spy and the primary love interest of Boseman's character, King T'Challa. Like others who worked with him, it was clear that Nyong'o was devastated by Boseman's passing.
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"I am aware that we are all mortal, but you come across some people in life that possess a immortal energy, that seem like they have existed before, that are exactly where they are supposed to always be - here! ... that seem ageless.... Chadwick was one of those people," she told fans. "Chadwick was a man who made the most of his time, and somehow also managed to take his time."
Nyong'o noted "didn't know [Boseman] for long" — the two only worked together on the Black Panther franchise — but said that "he had a profound effect on" her during their brief friendship. Like so many others, she was immediately "struck by his quiet, powerful presence. He had no airs about him, but there was a higher frequency that he seemed to operate from. You got the sense that he was fully present and also somehow fully aware of things in the distant future."
Boseman's passing hit all the harder because so many of his fans, friends and colleagues did not see it coming. The actor kept his stage 4 colon cancer a secret from the public. In the aftermath of that shock, Nyong'o was amazed by Boseman's patience, knowing that he must have known his time was limited.
"He was absorbent. Agile. He set the bar high by working with a generosity of spirit, creating an ego-free environment by sheer example, and he always had a warm gaze and a strong embrace to share," she wrote.
It was precisely this grace that made Nyong'o mourn so hard for Boseman, who she felt had so much more to offer the world. She wrote: "it seems that it was life that gave up on Chadwick long before Chadwick gave up on life." Nyong'o concluded by vowing to emulate these traits in the hopes of honoring Boseman. She invited fans to do the same.