“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman will continue to be a hero even after his death — especially for prospective students of Howard University.
Netflix has partnered with his alma mater to establish a $5.4 million scholarship in the late actor’s name.
“It is with immense pleasure and deep gratitude that we announce the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of alumnus Chadwick Boseman, whose life and contributions to the arts continue to inspire,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University, in a press release on Monday. “This scholarship embodies Chadwick’s love for Howard, his passion for storytelling and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick’s wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward-Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift.”
The announcement comes just months after the historically black university in Washington, DC, renamed its College of Fine Arts after the 43-year-old actor, who tragically died after a secret battle with colon cancer in August 2020.
The scholarship, according to the press release, will provide one freshman student per incoming class with a four-year scholarship to cover the full cost of university tuition. It will focus on students who exemplify exceptional skills in the arts who demonstrate financial need, with particular emphasis placed on those who reflect Boseman’s values: a drive for excellence, leadership, respect, empathy and passion, according to the relase.
The first scholarships will be awarded this fall with inaugural recipients including Sarah Long, a freshman in musical theater; Shawn Smith, a sophomore studying acting; Janee Ferguson, a junior in theater arts administration; and senior Deirdre Dunkin, who studies dance.
Boseman himself graduated from Howard University in 2000 with a bachelor of fine arts in directing. Following his “Black Panther” success, the actor returned to the university in 2018 to deliver a commencement address.
“Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose,” he said in a moving speech. “When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny.
“I don’t know what your future is, but if you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that has ultimately proven to have more meaning, more victory, more glory then you will not regret it,” he continued.
Despite his shocking 2021 Oscars loss for his last onscreen appearance in the Netflix film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the streaming platform still considers Boseman to be a treasured member of their family, as it proudly serves as the inaugural donor for the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship.
“He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer, stated in the press release. “Now, we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same. We are grateful to Simone and Chadwick’s whole family and our partners at Howard University for making this possible.”
Other notable alumni of Howard University include Vice President Kamala Harris, Tony Award-winner, Phylicia Rashad, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, among others.