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‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Gives Moving SAG Award Speech

The actor referenced Nina Simone’s powerful and relevant Black pride anthem after historic win,

'Black Panther' Star Chadwick Boseman Gives Moving SAG Award Speech
Photo Credit: TNT YouTube

Chadwick Boseman delivered a powerful speech Sunday night after Black Panther won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

After the cast took the stage to claim the most prestigious prize of the night, Boseman spoke on their behalf and referenced Nina Simone’s Black pride anthem, “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black.”

“When I think of going to work every day and the passion and the intelligence, the resolve, the discipline that everybody showed, I also think of two questions that we all have received during the course of multiple publicity runs,” Boseman said speaking to the audience about the film’s cast. “One is: Did we know that this movie was going to receive this kind of response? Meaning, was it going to make a billion dollars? Was it going to still be around during this awards season?”

He continued, “The second question is: Has it changed the industry? Has it actually changed the way this industry works [and] how it sees us? And my answer to that is: ‘To be young, gifted, and Black.'”

Boseman explained the experience of being African-American in Hollywood and how often one is told, “There is not a space for you to be featured.” Knowing that, he said the cast and director Ryan Coogler went on set every day to make a movie that humanized Black life.

“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,” Boseman said. “We know what it’s like to be the tail, but not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath, but not above. And that is what we went to work with every day. Because we knew not that we would be around during awards season or that it would make a billion dollars, but 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.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Panther‘s win makes it the first superhero movie to secure best ensemble at the SAG Awards. The film and its nearly all-Black cast has become a cultural powerhouse, grossing nearly $1.4 billion globally and forcing an open conversation about representation onscreen.

“I know you can’t have a Black Panther now without a ‘2’ on it,” Boseman said in conclusion.

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