Denzel Washington honors his special bond with Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman attends the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony to honor Denzel Washington.
Chadwick Boseman arrives at the 2019 AFI Life Achievement Award ceremony to honor Denzel Washington.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Chadwick Boseman once said, “There is no ‘Black Panther’ without Denzel Washington.”

A year after the “Black Panther” star honored Washington at the 47th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, Washington is now paying tribute to Boseman, who died Friday at age 43 after a private battle with colon cancer.

“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,” Washington said in a statement provided to CNN. “God bless Chadwick Boseman.”

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.

Aug. 28, 2020


At the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award event in 2019, Boseman delivered a moving speech saluting Washington, who once paid his tuition for a summer acting program while Boseman was attending Howard University.

“Many of you already know the story that Mr. Washington was asked by Phylicia Rashad to join her in assisting nine theater students from Howard University who had been accepted to a summer acting program at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford,” Boseman said in his tribute.

“As fate would have it, I was one of the students that he paid for. Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet.”

Footage of Boseman giving a powerful commencement speech at his alma mater has gone viral in the wake of his death. And actress Rashad also recalled mentoring Boseman at Howard during Sunday’s ABC News tribute special following a commercial-free broadcast of Marvel and Disney’s “Black Panther.”

“There is no ‘Black Panther’ without Denzel Washington,” Boseman continued in his AFI address. “And not just because of me, but my whole cast. That generation stands on your shoulders. The daily battles won, the thousand territories gained, the many sacrifices you made for the culture on film sets through your career, the things you refused to compromise along the way, laid the blueprints for us to follow.”


Forty years ago, Denzel Washington was struggling to find his path.

June 7, 2019

Several figures in Hollywood and beyond — including Angela Bassett, Barry Jenkins, Issa Rae, LeBron James, Jordan Peele, Bob Iger, Viola Davis, Mark Ruffalo, Kamala Harris and Oprah Winfrey — mourned Boseman’s death over the weekend, along with millions of fans.

“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman in a lengthy statement Sunday morning.

Aug. 30, 2020

On Sunday, “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler remembered the first time he met Boseman with an emotional tribute celebrating the actor’s immeasurable impact as King T’Challa of Wakanda.

“I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly,” Coogler wrote. “He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that [saw] much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.”