Chadwick Boseman brought his Black Panther star-power to his alma mater, Howard University. The actor gave an evocative commencement speech during the graduation ceremony.
A Magical Place
Boseman spoke to graduates about life, career, and all the obstacles they might face in the coming years, encouraging them to approach the path ahead without fear.
The Black Panther star graduated from Howard with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2000.
"[This campus represents] the culmination of the intellectual and spiritual journey you undergo while you were here," he told the graduating class of 2018.
He went on to explain how magical the university is, telling students anything could happen there.
Focusing On The Positives
Boseman later studied at the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford, quickly picking up acting jobs before landing his big break in a soap opera.
The role required him to play a young black man, with an absent father and drug-addicted mother, who is lured in by a gang.
The actor felt the role was a stereotype and found it difficult to connect his own experience and belief system to it. After expressing his concerns to the show's bosses, Boseman got fired.
Rather than dwelling on the negative side of the experience, the Black Panther star encouraged those listening to take such moments in stride because they will teach you how to fight.
"Take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes. ... then you will not regret it," he advised.
The Good Fight
Boseman also praised students for protesting against injustices including campus housing, tuition increases, and demands for the university president to resign.
He reminded them that they're fighting for future classes, rather than just themselves, and that they must remain focused.
"Purpose is the essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you are here to fulfill," he told graduates.
A Huge Achievement
Other Howard alumni include Toni Morrison, Thurgood Marshall, and Roberta Flack. The school is considered the Mecca of black education in America. This year marks its 150th graduating class.
Boseman encouraged graduates to fully experience and take in the moment, to properly appreciate everything they accomplished over their educational careers.
The university awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to Boseman, who finished his speech with the Wakanda salute.