Chadwick Boseman’s widow gave an emotional speech as she picked up her late husband’s posthumous Best Actor gong at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday (March 7th).
The actor – who died of cancer last August – was honored with the Best Actor accolade for his work on Ma Rainey’s “Black Bottom,” but his wife Taylor Simone Ledward admitted it was hard to find a “celebratory feeling.”
Accepting the award on behalf of Chadwick, she said: “You know it has to be said aloud that for those of us who know Chad intimately, personally, professionally, those he taught, those he gave a word for advice, those who taught him: it is so hard to find a celebratory feeling in these moments.
“As proud as we are of him, yes for his work, but even more just for who he is as a person, but his work deserves this. His work in this film deserves this – he deserves this.”
Taylor went on to imagine what she thought the “Black Panther” star would have said if he could have been there, and she felt he’d have stressed the “importance of Black voices telling Black stories”.
“And so, he would always thank God first and foremost in everything,” she continued. “He would always honor his mother and his father. He would always acknowledge those who came before him, those who charted the path, those who gave him their gifts.
“He may say something about the importance of this story, about the importance of Black voices telling Black stories. He may take this moment to give honor to August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights of our time.
“And as I recently read, societies grow great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they may never sit. And our society may be a far cry from great, but I know that the seeds you planted will grow into forests, and one day we too will be tall enough to reach the heavens.
“Thank you Critics’ Choice and thank you, Chad.”
Chadwick had also been recognized in the Best Supporting Actor category for “Da 5 Bloods” but lost out to Judas and the “Black Messiah” star Daniel Kaluuya, and both “Da 5 Bloods” and Ma Rainey’s “Black Bottom” were shortlisted for Best Acting Ensemble, but the prize went to “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”