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Watch Chadwick Boseman’s indelible SAG Awards speech on being ‘young, gifted and Black’

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When Chadwick Boseman accepted the 2019 SAG Awards’ top film prize with his “Black Panther” castmates, he borrowed some potent words from the Nina Simone song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” and gave a memorable speech reflecting on the impact of the film.

Boseman, who played T’Challa in the groundbreaking Marvel movie, died Friday at age 43, and the actor’s 2019 speech is worth watching again for fans reflecting on his power as a performer and the significance of his too-brief career.

On the evening of the SAG Awards, the critically and commercially successful “Black Panther,” which had just earned Marvel Studios its first Oscar nomination for best picture, quickly showed its awards season might, taking the award for cast in a motion picture.

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who played real-life icons Jackie Robinson and James Brown before finding fame as the regal “Black Panther” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has died of cancer.

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“To be young, gifted and Black,” said Boseman in his acceptance speech addressing questions about whether “Black Panther” had changed the film industry. “We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured. Yet you are young, gifted and Black. We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above.”

“That is what we went to work with every day,” he continued. “Because we knew … that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

The Times was on the scene during “Black Panther’s” historic night, following the cast members backstage as they celebrated their win.

Chadwick Boseman was full of wisdom Sunday night as he and the cast of “Black Panther” received the ensemble cast in a motion picture award at the 2019 SAG Awards.

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“It feels good — unexpected but good,” actor Michael B. Jordan told The Times about the film’s win that night.

After his remarks onstage, Boseman’s eloquence continued in the press room.

“It’s one of my favorite sayings in poetry,” Boseman said about the lyrics in “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” a civil rights anthem. “It speaks to the fact that you have the same dreams as other people, you have equal if not more talent at times, but you don’t have the same opportunities.”

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and actors Viola Davis and Mark Ruffalo are among those mourning the death of “Black Panther’s” Chadwick Boseman.

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