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Chadwick Boseman Quotes That Honor His Life

Chadwick Boseman, a cultural icon, of our time played a variety of historically significant roles. In 42 he plays baseball legend, Jackie Robinson. Jackie Robinson experienced racism from all fronts and Boseman does a stellar performance of conveying Robinson’s emotions and sense of fortitude. His supporting role in Draft Day, was a chance to show how talented an actor he was. James Brown came to life on the big screen, thanks to Boseman’s charm, in Get on Up.

The actor stared as T’Challa in the Marvel Comic movies, Captain America: Civil War and Black Panther. Black Panther was not an alter ego of King T’Challa it was a formal title. The character is a religious icon to the people of Wakanda. Chadwick Boseman, was a talented actor and activist that was taken from this world far too soon. However, his words about his work, life, and being African American will continue to inspire people.

Chadwick Boseman quotes about acting, writing, and directing

1. “I started out as a writer and a director. I started acting because I wanted to know how to relate to the actors. When people ask me what I do, I don’t really say that I’m an actor, because actors often wait for someone to give them roles.” Chadwick Boseman

2. “For me, being a complete artist means not necessarily just being in front of the camera, but being behind the camera or being the originator or creator of something.” Chadwick Boseman

3. “Actors can have a fair amount of hate for each other, so when another actor says, ‘You did your thing,’ or ‘That was inspiring,’ you can’t really ask for more than that.” Chadwick Boseman

4. “I think there’s a difference between a working actor, a movie star and a celebrity. They’re all three different things.” Chadwick Boseman

5. “I would love to have an ocean of love right now. That said, the number-one rule of acting is, ‘Do not seek approval from the audience.’ People don’t realize that. You can’t do stuff to get applause. You have to live in the truth.” Chadwick Boseman 

6. “Sometimes when you’re acting, you only need a little bit of something to sort of channel or, you know, transport into a place.” Chadwick Boseman

7. “When you’re doing a character, you want to know the full landscape. You want to know them spiritually, mentally, and physically.” Chadwick Boseman

8. “As a director, it is important to understand the actor’s process.” Chadwick Boseman

9. “I try to look at every role the same way, regardless of whether the character is real or the character is a fantasy. I always start from myself, because you have to know yourself first.” Chadwick Boseman

10. “I don’t read reviews, but I do get feedback from my peers and people I know, like other actors and directors and producers.” Chadwick Boseman

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11. “I remember my first agent telling me – because they found me as an actor, but I was probably more interested in writing and maybe directing – they were like, ‘Well, you can’t do both things.’ And I was like, ‘I’m gonna show you.” Chadwick Boseman

12. “I watched movies, obviously, just like anybody else, but there was nothing to make me think, ‘I’m going to go to L.A. and become a movie star,’ or anything like that.” Chadwick Boseman

13. “When you play characters, you shouldn’t just be putting on their characteristics – you should be finding it inside yourself.” Chadwick Boseman

14. “One of the first things I was taught as an actor was, ‘Don’t judge the character.’ Chadwick Boseman

15. “I would love to play Jimi Hendrix.” Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman quotes about the life of an artist

16. “I would go through these cycles of being really, really focused on work, and not being around anyone, to being around everyone. And that could be distracting. It was nothing or everything.” Chadwick Boseman

17. “I’m an artist. Artists don’t need permission to work. Regardless of whether I’m acting or not, I write. I write when I’m tired in fact, because I believe your most pure thoughts surface.” Chadwick Boseman

18. “I love all types of music. Jazz, classical, blues, rock, hip-hop. I often write scripts to instrumentals like a hip-hop artist. Music inspires me to write. It’s either music playing or completely silent. Sometimes distant sound fuels you. In New York there’s always a buzzing beneath you.” Chadwick Boseman

19. “There’s nothing more stressful than your stomach growling. But interestingly enough, some of my best writing came when I was poor and hungry – living off water and oatmeal, mind clear.” Chadwick Boseman

20. “I thought I would draw or paint or be an architect. I was always drawing portraits. My mom put me in art classes in the summer.” Chadwick Boseman

21. “You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.” Chadwick Boseman

22. “We live in a world where people can ridicule you at the push of the button. They can question you at the push of a button.” Chadwick Boseman

23. “People have said, ‘You don’t need to do any more biopics. You don’t need to play any more real people.’ I don’t agree with that.” Chadwick Boseman

24. “I’d taken, like, maybe some African dance classes a couple of times, but I wasn’t a musical theater person at all.” Chadwick Boseman

25. “When you make movies, it’s such an important period of time, when you look back at each one of them. You want to be able to say that you did something that was a challenge and that changed you.” Chadwick Boseman

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Chadwick Boseman quotes about heroes and villains 

26. “The thing I love about Marvel in general is that they deal with people. They deal with the human being first: Who is inside the suit? Who is the person that obtained this power or this ability?” Chadwick Boseman

27. “The only difference between a hero and the villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people.” Chadwick Boseman

28. “I wasn’t a comic book geek as a kid. I read some, but it was just like, ‘Oh, I have this comic book here.’ It wasn’t like I was collecting them.” Chadwick Boseman

29. “A superhero movie is only as great as its villains.” Chadwick Boseman

30. “When it comes down to it, I’d rather have an action figure than a Golden Globe.” Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman quotes about living in the south and being African American

31. “People of African descent, most of us grew up accepting and loving Spider-Man. I still love Spider-Man. I still love the Incredible Hulk. I still have those characters that were white role models, superheroes, heroes – whatever you want to call it. You basically had no choice but to accept those.” Chadwick Boseman

If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of Spider-Man quotes to help you live like a superhero.

32. “I’m from Anderson, S.C., but I grew up in the South. So I know what it is to ride to school and have Confederate flags flying from trucks in front of me and behind me, to see a parking lot full of people with Confederate flags and know what that means. I’ve been stopped by police for no reason.” Chadwick Boseman

33. “I was raised in a sort of village. I have a huge family, and I think there is strength in that. It helped me to deal with some of the complications of living in the South because I always felt like I belonged, no matter what.” Chadwick Boseman

34. “Colonialism is the cousin of slavery.” Chadwick Boseman

35. “I like ambiguity because you may be the villain in someone else’s story and the hero in your own, and I think very often, African-American characters are either one thing or the other. You shouldn’t have to be perfectly good or perfectly bad. You don’t even have to be magical.” Chadwick Boseman

36. “Some people would view Jackie Robinson as a very safe African-American, a docile figure who had a tendency to try to get along with everyone, and when you look at his history, you learn that he has this fire that allows him to take this punishment but also figure out savvy ways of giving it back.” Chadwick Boseman

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37. “As an African-American actor, a lot of our stories haven’t been told.” Chadwick Boseman

38. “Every year, Hollywood is looking for that new, white leading man and new white starlet that audiences fall in love with. But they’re not looking for the next Denzel Washington, Will Smith or Sidney Poitier.” Chadwick Boseman

39. “I majored in directing. However, I did spend some time at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, so I am somewhat well-versed in African Studies.” Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman quotes on ‘Black Panther’

40. “This experience is an opening for people’s consciousness. Their boundaries should be shaken and moved. There’s a hero here that I hope people grow to love.” Chadwick Boseman

41. “Seeing my mom watch what was going on and being able to introduce her to certain people. When Miss (Angela) Bassett came over, Janelle Monae and Tessa Thompson came over… She’s the Queen Mother so she gets to meet everybody. That was my favorite part of the night.” Chadwick Boseman

42. “Usher was dancing on the table, pretty much the whole night he was there. Snoop Dogg was having a great time, that’s one of my favorite memories.” Chadwick Boseman

43. “It’s his purpose as a king. This is how he’s going to rule. T’Challa is basically saying, ‘We have a responsibility to the world to be a beacon of light.’ Chadwick Boseman

44. “I hesitate to say this is bigger – those are real historical figures and moments, but what this is, it’s a cultural moment that is happening right now. We’re not remembering breaking the color barrier or how funk was created. We’re living this.” Chadwick Boseman

45. “Wakanda forever!” Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa

Which of these Chadwick Boseman quotes is your favorite?

Chadwick Boseman was a phenomenal man, and not just for the characters he played. He was a man of faith. He was someone who pursued the interests in his life in a way that reflected who he was. When a teammate on his college basketball team was murdered, Boseman turned to writing. He wrote his first screenplay, Crossroads, because he, “had a feeling that this was something that was calling to me… Suddenly, playing basketball wasn’t as important.”

Boseman graduated from Howards University, or “The Mecca.” He was there at the same time as author Ta-Neshisi Coates, who would end being a writer for the Black Panther comics. It is a small world after all…or maybe, the things that we are meant to do are put in our path throughout our lives and we have to be brave enough to take the right roads. Chadwick Boseman will continue to inspire people for generations.  

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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