Cape Town - In a tell-all interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Chadwick Boseman shed light on the journey to his current mega-stardom. The Black Panther star explained how Denzel Washington helped fund his studies and noted that he doesn’t think the Hollywood legend even knows.
According to BET.com, the 41-year-old attended Howard University in Washington, where he was mentored by actress Phylicia Rashad, aka Claire Huxtable on The Cosby Show.
The veteran actress made a point of helping the talented students at her alma mater and facilitated a fund to get a group of students to Oxford for the summer semester. According to Ebony.com, Phylicia got her celebrity friends involved to fund the student’s trip, with each student getting a letter from their benefactor, and Chadwick says, “Denzel paid for me”.
It seems Phylicia was the ultimate mentor. “She would do a play in DC and you'd go see it, and she'd drive you home and talk to you,” Chadwick recalls, “’How you eating? You look too skinny. You need a pork chop.’ We were just trying to aspire to her excellence.”
Chadwick says he was over the moon when he found out about the Oxford funding and he wrote Denzel a letter at the time. But he doubts the actor remembers or knows that Boseman was the one he funded. “I'm sure he has no idea. It was random,” he says, “I've been waiting to meet him, so I can tell him.”
Phylicia also knew from the start that Boseman was destined for greatness, telling Rolling Stone, “What I saw in him was the sky was the limit. He never asked me to introduce him to anyone – that’s not his way. He was going to make it on his own merits.”
Chadwick Boseman appears on our latest cover. Click the link in our bio to read the story in full at RollingStone.com. In the new feature, the 'Black Panther' star discusses the making of the film, Hollywood's double standard when it comes to identifying young black talent and more. "Some [black] actors will say, 'I don't want to play a character just because he's black,'" he tells us. "And that's great, I'm not saying they're wrong. But that's missing all the richness that's been whitewashed." Photograph by Norman Jean Roy