Lupita Nyong’o has shared a heartfelt tribute to her Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman, describing the late actor as “fuelled by love, not fear”.
Boseman died aged 43 last month following a private four-year fight against colon cancer. His death stunned Hollywood and devastated fans around the world.
Boseman was best known for playing superhero T’Challa in the Marvel films, including the influential 2018 blockbuster Black Panther.
Oscar-winning Nyong’o starred alongside Boseman in Black Panther and has penned a touching tribute. She said: “I write these words from a place of hopelessness, to honour a man who had great hope.
“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.”
Nyong’o said Boseman seemed “ageless” and that the actor had a “profound effect” on her, praising his work and on-set demeanour.
“I think he understood the power of words and chose to manifest power through his word,” Nyong’o said. “He used his mouth to build, to edify, never to break. And he used it to tell some regrettably lame dad jokes.
“He practised not going against himself. He seemed to really love himself; he expressed who he really was, even when it meant he didn’t smile when you thought he should.”
Boseman was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016, his family said when announcing his death, revealing he continued to make films – including Black Panther – while battling the disease.
Nyong’o said Boseman “used his body in every way he could”, adding: “He did his own stunts, drummed at his own parties, danced many a night away, mastered marital arts… the list goes on.”
Nyong’o said the actor was “fully alive” and that “it seems that it was life that gave up on Chadwick long before Chadwick gave up on life”.
She also praised his influence and legacy for the black community. Black Panther, which starred a majority black cast, was a landmark moment for representation in Hollywood.
Boseman was “fuelled by love, not fear,” Nyong’o said, and he set out to “make sure his life meant something.”
She added: “He cared so deeply about humanity, about Black people, about his people. He activated our pride. By pushing through and working with such high purpose in the films he chose to commit to, Chadwick has made the infinite his home.”
Following Boseman’s death on August 28, tributes poured in from across the entertainment industry and politics.
Former US president Barack Obama described him as “blessed” while Black Panther director Ryan Coogler said he “lived a beautiful life”.