Lupita Nyong'o Honors Chadwick Boseman With Heart-Wrenching Tribute: "It Doesn’t Make Sense"

Lupita Nyong'o honored her friend and Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman following his passing. Scroll on to read her tribute.

By Jess Cohen Sep 08, 2020 2:23 PMTags
Watch: Chadwick Boseman: It's Not Hard to Love Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong'o is paying tribute to her friend and Black Panther co-star Chadwick Boseman.

The Oscar winner took to social media on Tuesday, Sept. 8, to share a message about the beloved actor, who passed away in late August. "I write these words from a place of hopelessness, to honor a man who had great hope," Lupita began. "I am struggling to think and speak about my friend, Chadwick Boseman, in the past tense. It doesn't make sense."

Lupita said that the news of his death is a "punch to my gut every morning." She went on to note that Chadwick was a man "who made the most of his time, and somehow also managed to take his time." Though she said they didn't know each other for long, Boseman "had a profound effect on me" in that time that they had together.

"When we came together to make Black Panther, I remember being struck by his quiet, powerful presence," Lupita wrote. "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...and he put in the work with all of us."

"He showed up to every rehearsal and training and shoot day with his game face on," the actress continued. "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 warm 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."

Chadwick Boseman's Best Roles

Lupita noted that she "never heard him complain" during their time together despite his private battle with cancer. "I think he understood the power of words and chose to manifest power through his word. He used his mouth to build, to edify, never to break," she said. "And he used it to tell some regrettably lame dad jokes. He practiced 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. He accepted himself. And perhaps that's why he was capable of loving so many, so deeply."

"And he used his body in every way he could," Lupita shared. "He did his own stunts, drummed at his own parties, danced many a night away, mastered martial arts... the list goes on. He loved, honored and respected that body, doing more with it than most. In so doing, he took the risk to be alive, fully alive. So it seems that it was life that gave up on Chadwick long before Chadwick gave up on life..."

Lupita wrote that when she was around Chadwick she "wanted to be better, less petty, more purposeful." She added, "He was fueled by love, not fear. He moved quietly, deliberately, and without imposing himself or his ideals on others. And yet he also made damn sure that his life meant something. 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."

Lupita concluded her message by writing that Boseman's power "lives on and will reverberate for generations to come." As she shared, "He used his life force to tell meaningful stories. And now we tell his..."

The 43-year-old passed away after a four-year battle with colon cancer, his team confirmed on Friday, Aug. 28. "⁣A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much," read a statement posted to the star's social account. "From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy."

"It was the honor of his career to bring King T'Challa to life in Black Panther," the statement continued, adding that Boseman passed away at his home alongside his family, including his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward. "The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time."

In early September, a private memorial was held in Boseman's honor in Malibu, Calif. Lupita, Boseman's wife Taylor, Michael B. Jordan and Winston Duke were all reportedly in attendance.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Since news of Boseman's death emerged, many of his fans, friends and fellow Marvel stars have taken to social media to mourn the actor's passing. "I don't have words. Rest In Peace, Bruh. Thank you for all you did while you were here," Sterling K. Brown tweeted. "Thank you for being a friend. You are loved. You will be missed."

Fellow Black Panther star Angela Bassett also wrote about a special moment she shared with Boseman. "During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something," she recalled. "He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever!"

Captain America's Chris Evans shared a touching tribute to Boseman on Instagram. "I'm absolutely devastated," he began. "This is beyond heartbreaking. Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. Few performers have such power and versatility. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I'm endlessly grateful for our friendship. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Rest in power, King."

Boseman's Marshall co-star Josh Gad took to Twitter to share one of his final text messages from the actor. "Breaking my twitter silence to share some beauty," he wrote alongside the message. "This was one of my final texts from the brilliant & once-in-lifetime talent, @chadwickboseman- take this in & celebrate life. He knew how precious every moment was. Tonight the Heavens received one of its most powerful angels."