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Chadwick Boseman’s Widow Gives Emotional Gotham Awards Speech

Boseman received the Gotham Awards’ Film Tribute prize on Monday during a powerful tribute from Taylor Simone Ledward.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Late actor Chadwick Boseman was honored at the 2021 Gotham Awards, held virtually by the Independent Film Project, on Monday night with the event’s Actor Tribute Award. The event included testimonies from Andre Holland and his widow, Taylor Simone Ledward. Boseman was also nominated at the Gotham Awards for Best Actor thanks to his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” though that prize went to Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal.”

Boseman was paid tribute by his co-star Andre Holland, with whom he starred opposite as Jackie Robinson in “42.” Of a memorable moment in promoting the film, Holland said, “There was an acknowledgment in his face that his light would never be the same and there was also this clarity in his eyes that he was ready to meet that moment and many more. Chad went on to play many more important characters and he always kept himself committed to his craft… he honored his calling each and every time he went to work. Chad had a way of being kind without being soft. Of being gracious without being officious. Of being tender without being sentimental.”

Holland added, “He was special artist, a wonderful human, he made everyone better. And I will be forever grateful that he was my friend.”

Taylor Simone Ledward gave an emotional speech as well. “He was the most honest person I ever met, because he didn’t just stop at speaking the truth: he actively searched for it in himself and those around him and in the moment. The truth can be a very easy thing for the self to avoid, but if one does not live in truth then it’s impossible to live in line with the divine purpose for your life. And so it became how he lived his life, day in and out. Imperfect and determined. In doing so, he was able to give himself over fully in every moment, to be totally present in his own life and in the lives of people he became. He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the none, the one, and the all. ‘A vessel to be poured into and out of,’ he said. “He harnessed the power of letting go and letting God’s love shine through… [He[ was not merely telling a story or reading lines on a page, but modeling a path to true fulfillment.”

In an emotional speech, she added, “Chad, thank you. I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us.”

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