Chadwick Boseman was born in the small town of Anderson, South Carolina, in 1977. Little did his parents, who still live there to this day, know what a superstar their son would become.
1. Boseman attended Howard University, AKA “the mecca”, where he studied under none other than Phylicia Rashad, better known as Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show. But Rashan was more than just a teacher. She was a mentor that provided support for the budding actor both in and out of the classroom.
“She would do a play in DC and you’d go see it, and she’d drive you home and talk to you. ‘How you eating? You look too skinny. You need a pork chop,'” reminisced Boseman.
2. If you’re one of the few people in South Africa who are interested in the sport of baseball, you’ve probably seen the film 42. Chadwick Boseman plays the role of Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League Baseball in America.
What you might not know is that Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel Robinson, first wanted Sidney Poitier and then Denzel Washington in the role. When Boseman was eventually cast, her first words to him were, “Who are you?” She may not have known about Boseman then but we’re pretty sure she knows exactly who he is now.
3. Over and above being an outstanding actor, Boseman was also a writer, having written his first screenplay in college after a basketball teammate was tragically murdered. “I just had a feeling that this was something that was calling to me… Suddenly, playing basketball wasn’t as important,” said Boseman.
4. When Boseman was cast in the role of T’Challa, AKA Black Panther, he decided to trace his roots back to his African homeland. Some research later and he discovered that his ancestry hails from three tribes in Africa; Yoruba from Nigeria, Limba and Mende from Sierra Leone and Jola from Guinea-Bissau.
5. Boseman was at the very top of Marvel’s list when it came to casting for Black Panther. Unlike the rest of The Avengers, he didn’t even have to audition for the part. It was his for the taking and we’re very glad he did.