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The late, legendary actor Chadwick Boseman’s final performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has garnered lots of awards buzz, and last night he was posthumously honored at the Gotham Awards with the Actor Tribute award.

MA RAINEY'S BLACK BOTTOM, Chadwick Boseman, 2020

David Lee / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

Boseman’s wife Taylor Simone Ledward accepted the award on his behalf and gave a moving speech about his defining characteristics as a person and actor.

Taylor Simone Ledward and Chadwick Boseman attend the "21 Bridges" New York Screening at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on November 19, 2019 in New York City

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

“As an artist, an actor, and a person, Chad made a practice of telling the truth,” she said. “He is the most honest person I’ve ever met.”


David Lee / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

“Because he didn’t just stop at speaking the truth, he actively searched for it—in himself, in 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 a divine purpose for your life.”

Chadwick Boseman; back from left: Glynn Turman, Michael Potts, Colman Domingo

David Lee / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection

“And so, it became how he lived his life, day in, day out. Imperfect, but determined.”

Chadwick Boseman in attendance for STXfilms Kicks Off CinemaCon''s The State of the Industry: Past, Present and Future, The Colosseum of Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV April 2, 2019

JA / Everett Collection

Ledward also said that Boseman’s profession helped him “[develop] his understanding of what it meant to be the one, the none and the all. He realized when one is able to recognize that their strength does not come from themself, they rarely mess up.”

Chadwick Boseman at arrivals for The 91st Academy Awards

Elizabeth Goodenough / Everett Collection

“That’s what he was doing when he was acting. Not merely telling a story or reading lines off a page, but modeling for us a path of true fulfillment.”

Chadwick Boseman at arrivals for AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Premiere - Part 2, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA April 23, 2018

Elizabeth Goodenough / Everett Collection

“May we not let his conviction be in vain. May our spirits be fertile soil for gods wisdom to fall upon.”

Chadwick Boseman at arrivals for 2018 Film Independent Spirit Awards - Arrivals, Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica, CA March 3, 2018

Priscilla Grant / Everett Collection

After thanking God for “giving Chad these gifts, and instilling the strength to bear its weight,” Ledward addressed her late husband herself: “Chad, thank you. I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us.”

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, Winston Duke as M'Baku, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, Chris Evans as Captain America, Sebastian Stan as Winter Soldier

Marvel / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

Ledward’s speech was a moving tribute to an acting great whose power is still being absorbed through his rich body of work.

Matt Kennedy / Walt Disney Co. / courtesy Everett Collection

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