Trinity Goppy | Staff Writer
In honor of late Howard University alumnus Chadwick Boseman, the school and Netflix have created a $5.4 million scholarship called The Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO and chief content officer, announced the partnership in a news release.
“He always spoke of his time at Howard and the positive way it shaped his life and career,” Sarandos said. “Now we will have the opportunity to give many future superheroes a chance to experience the same.”
Howard University President Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick said the scholarship symbolizes Boseman’s love for his alma mater, his passion for the arts and his willingness to support future generations of Howard students. The scholarship funds four years of tuition at Howard’s College of Fine Arts, renamed after Boseman earlier this year.
Eligible students have to exemplify a drive for excellence, leadership, respect, empathy, passion and exceptional skills in the arts, according to Howard University. The scholarship grants young artists an opportunity to pursue higher education without the stress of financial barriers.
Howard will distribute the first official scholarship awards this fall to inaugural recipients Sarah Long, Shawn Smith, Janee’ Ferguson, and senior Deirdre Dunkin, according to Howard Newsroom.
Boseman attended Howard University in 2000 to study directing and earned a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. His teachers at Howard included Al Freeman Jr. and actress Phylicia Rashad, who later became his mentor and now is the dean of the College of Fine Arts. He later went on to study at The British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, for graduate school.
Although he could not financially afford the trip, Rashad raised money with her friend, actor Denzel Washington, according to the New York Times. As a result of their guidance and counsel, Boseman was eligible for several programs and training camps to further his career as an actor.
Following his “Black Panther” success, Boseman returned to Howard University in 2018 to deliver a commencement address.
“Whatever you choose for a career path, remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose,” he said. “When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes
or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny.”
Boseman used his passionate speech to encourage the graduating class to find a purpose, not just a job.
“Purpose crosses disciplines,” he told the graduating class. “Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”
The scholarship highlights Boseman’s continued connection to Netflix, as two of the actor’s final roles were in partnership with the streamer.