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Netflix Funds Howard University's Scholarship To Honor Late Graduate Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman

Streaming service Netflix has just partnered with Howard University to honor late Black Panther's graduate Chadwick Boseman, establishing a $5.4 million scholarship in the actor's name.

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship will grant full scholarships to students of the College of Fine Arts, which was named after the actor in May. Beginning next year, first-year students will be selected annually for the four-year enrollment, which covers the costs of the university's tuition.

A press release stated, however, that the scholarship will be awarded this Fall already.... To one beneficiary in each class.

The awardees that have been chosen to inaugurate the scholarship are Deirdre Dunkin, a senior who's studying dance, Janee Ferguson, a junior in theatre arts administration, Sarah Long, a freshman in musical theatre and finally Shawn Smith, a sophomore studying acting.

Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D. expressed his profound gratitude for establishing the scholarship and having the possibility to help those who are most in need.

"This scholarship embodies Chadwick's love for Howard, his passion for storytelling and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. I am thankful for the continuous support and partnership of Chadwick's wife, Mrs. Simone Ledward Boseman, and to Netflix for this important gift."

The late actor's wife, Simone Ledward Boseman, also showed all her support in a statement where she mentioned the importance of removing financial barriers to education.

"Many exemplary artists are not afforded the opportunity to pursue higher learning, we hope to support as many students as possible by removing the financial barrier to education. This endowment represents Chad's devotion to the craft, his compassion for others, and his desire to support future storytellers."

The fact that Netflix funds the scholarship is also further evidence of the deep relationship Boseman had with the streaming service. After all, two of his final roles were indeed in collaboration with Netflix, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a film thatearned him a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Furthermore, the late actor won several awards such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe and NAACP Image.

But perhaps one of the most longevous and loving relationship has been with Howard University, where he graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing. Eighteen years later, the actor had delivered a passionate commencement speech where he encouraged graduates to align with their purpose and fully embrace the moment of success they were experiencing.

"Right now I urge you in your breath, in your eyes, in your consciousness invest in the importance of this moment and cherish it. Save the taste of your triumphs today. [...] Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history."

But although the actor was fighting to protect the world on screen, there was a hidden fight that the world knew nothing about. Boseman was indeed fighting against colon cancer and sadly passed away in August 2020 at the age of 43 years old.

He may have been taken away from us too soon, but his legacy persists. Netflix co-chief executive and chief content officer talked in a statement about Boseman's legacy and profound impact.

"While he was taken from us too soon, his spirit is with us always in his work and the good that he has inspired. He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career. Now, we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same."

The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for all students of future generations and perfectly aligns with Boseman's inner values.... To always show up for others, no matter what.

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Andrea Laurenti