"It doesn't make sense," the Oscar winner writes of her late Black Panther costar.

By Nick Romano
September 08, 2020 at 12:12 PM EDT
  • Movie

Lupita Nyong'o writes "from a place of hopelessness" as she reflects on the death of her Black Panther costar Chadwick Boseman in a tribute shared on Tuesday.

"I am struggling to think and speak about my friend, Chadwick Boseman, in the past tense. It doesn't make sense," Nyong'o writes. "The news of his passing is a punch to my gut every morning. I am aware that we are all mortal, but you come across some people in life that possess an immortal energy, that seem like they have existed before, that are exactly where they are supposed to always be — here! ... that seem ageless... Chadwick was one of those people."

The Oscar winner portrayed Nakia, a War Dog for the nation of Wakanda and a former love of Boseman's T'Challa, in the Marvel Studios film that gave Boseman a global platform. While Nyong'o "didn't know him for long," she writes how "he had a profound effect" on her.

"When we came together to make Black Panther, I remember being struck by his quiet, powerful presence," she writes. "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. 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 a strong embrace to share."

Nyong'o goes on to mention how "there were definitely some things worth complaining about" during the making of Black Panther, but that Boseman never did because "he understood the power of words and chose to manifest power through his word."

She remembers how he came ready with "some regrettably lame dad jokes," how "he used his body in every way he could" to perform his own stunts and master martial arts, how he "drummed at his own parties" and "danced many a night away."

"When I was around Chadwick, I wanted to be better, less petty, more purposeful... He was fueled by love, not fear," she continues. "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 was unwavering about that. 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."

Boseman died at the age of 43 of complications from colon cancer, a diagnosis he'd kept largely private for four years. News of his passing was shared in late August through a family statement, and those he knew have since been trying to grapple with the loss.

Nyong'o and other Black Panther costars Michael B. Jordan and Winston Duke were present during a private memorial service in Malibu a week later.

"We are all charged by his work as a result, by his presence in our lives," Nyong'o concludes. "His power lives on and will reverberate for generations to come. He used his life force to tell meaningful stories. And now we tell his... Chadwick's death is something that I can neither take in nor take in my stride right now. Perhaps with time... I'm going to take my time... and in his honor, I promise not to waste my time. I hope you will do the same."

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Black Panther

Directed by Ryan Coogler, the 2018 superhero film is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name and stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the king who rules over the Afrofuturist paradise of Wakanda.
  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 135 minutes
  • Ryan Coogler
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