Accompanied by Jimmy Fallon, Boseman popped out from behind a curtain as moviegoers were recording thank you messages to him. It was the same sort of shocker the Tonight Show host pulled off with former First Lady Michelle Obama, but this time was about recognizing the importance of releasing a blockbuster-sized film with a predominantly black cast and crew.
“For me, as the mother of a young son, my son’s childhood has been defined by Barack Obama and now Black Panther. So thank you,” one woman said before Boseman pulled back the curtain.
Another fan, an aspiring filmmaker, spoke about how “art can change the world,” another admitted to watching the film once on bootleg (but twice in theaters!), and another was surprised Black Panther got her to go see an action movie.
“Representation is very important,” a woman said. “It gives the kids hope and it gives them the confidence to say things like, ‘Hey, are you Killmonger’s mamma?’ on the street when I’m going to work. I appreciate that. I thought I had a stylish haircut.”
“The #Wakanda love runs deep on @FallonTonight,” Boseman tweeted of his appearance on The Tonight Show, along with photos of him with fellow guest Marlon Wayans and The Roots’ Questlove.
The cultural significance of Black Panther is by no means lost on Boseman. He revealed during an EW SiriusXM Town Hall conversation that he was corresponding with two young cancer patients while filming the movie, and they had died before Black Panther‘s release.
“What they and their parents said to me was, they were trying to hold on till this movie comes,” Boseman said. “To a certain degree it’s a humbling experience because you’re like, this can’t mean that much to them. But seeing how the world has taken this on, I realize they anticipated something great.”