“I write these words from a place of hopelessness, to honor a man who had great hope,” Lupita Nyong’o wrote. “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.”
While Nyong’o notes that she understands that Boseman was human, much like the rest of us, she couldn’t fathom why the world didn’t have more time with the iconic actor, before adding that the actor possessed an “immortal energy” that left an impression on everyone he met.
“I am aware we are all mortal, but you come across some people in life that possess an 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.”
Nyong’o played Boseman’s King T’Challa’s love interest Nakia in “Black Panther,” and while she says she didn’t know her costar long, he will stay with her always.
“Chadwick was a man who made the most of his time, and somehow also managed to take his time,” she wrote. “I didn’t know him for long, but he had a profound effect on me in the time that I did. When we came together to make Black Panther, I remember being 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. As a result, I noticed that Chadwick never seemed rushed! He commanded his time with ease.”
Despite receiving the diagnosis in 2016, Boseman’s work ethic allowed him to release a total of seven films before he passed–a quality that Nyong’o notes she noticed on set during the time they filmed together sharing that he always showed up to “every rehearsal and training and shoot day with his game face on.”
“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. His large hands would descend on my shoulders and give them a squeeze that relieved me of the tensions I did not realize I was holding. Chadwick’s hands were strong enough to carry the weight of the film and free enough to clasp mine when I needed it.”
Nyong’o said Boseman used his body in all the ways that he could, by doing his own stunts, martial arts, and drumming at his own parties, adding that he respected his body while doing that and that being around him made her want to “be better, less petty, more purposeful.”
“In so doing, he took the risk to be alive, fully alive,” she said. “So it seems that it was life that gave up on Chadwick long before Chadwick gave up on life,” Nyong’o continued. “He used his life force to tell meaningful stories,” she said. “And now we tell his… Chadwick’s death is something that I can neither take in nor take in nor take in my stride right now.”
Rest well, king.
Read Lupita Nyong’o’s full tribute below.