Keke Palmer Reflects on "Devastating Loss'' of Chadwick Boseman in 2020 MTV VMAs Tribute

Keke Palmer honored Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman with a thoughtful speech at the start of the 2020 MTV VMAs.

By Cydney Contreras Aug 31, 2020 12:04 AMTags
Watch: Chadwick Boseman Brought Black Superheroes to Life with "Black Panther"

Chadwick Boseman is being remembered at the 2020 MTV VMAs.

On Sunday, Aug. 30, award show host Keke Palmer started off the night by making a short yet impactful speech.

"Before we get into the music tonight, we need to talk about the devastating loss of Chadwick Boseman, an actor whose talent and passion is a true inspiration to all the fans he touched and everyone he encountered," she stated. "We dedicate tonight's show to a man whose spirit touched so many. He is a true hero. Not just on screen but in everything he did. His impact lives forever."

In addition to Keke's speech, MTV aired a brief segment of Chadwick's speech from the 2018 MTV TV and Movie Awards. 

A source told E! News exclusively that the tribute was planned in the "11th hour" ahead of the show. Additionally, the insider said Chadwick would be recognized during an "In Memoriam" segment. 

The Black Panther star's death was confirmed on Friday, Aug. 28 in a statement shared to his respective social media accounts. In the announcement, it was revealed that the 43-year-old actor had been privately seeking treatment for colon cancer for the better part of the last four years. 

See the Winners of the 2020 MTV VMAs

"A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much," the statement read in part. "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."

It was also revealed that Chadwick had died with his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, by his side. Prior to his death, fans were unaware that he had married the singer. 

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Rumors of an engagement began swirling in October 2019, but Chadwick and Taylor didn't address the speculation.

In addition to the MTV VMAs, ABC intends to honor Chadwick with a television presentation of the Black Panther, as well as a special ABC News segment titled Chadwick Boseman—A Tribute for a King. "The ABC News special will celebrate Boseman's storied life, legacy and career and the cultural imprint he made on- and off-screen," according to a press release. "It will feature tributes that have poured in from celebrities, political figures and fans across the world, special words from those who starred alongside him and knew Boseman best, and shine a light on the medical condition he privately battled."

Viewers can see the MTV VMAs simulcast on MTV or The CW at 5 p.m., with the ABC special presentation also beginning at 5 p.m local time.