Chadwick Boseman was honored posthumously at the 2021 NAACP Image Awards, which took place on Saturday, March 27.
The late actor, who died in August 2020, received a posthumous award for his acting in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, one of several posthumous accolades awarded to him in recent months.
Chadwick’s wife Taylor Simone Ledward Boseman accepted the award for him in a livestreamed video, and in addition to thanking all of the loved ones whom she knows Chadwick would mention, she drew attention to the prevalence of colon cancer, which the actor was diagnosed with prior to his death.
Noting that colon cancer is not uncommon, she added, “Black people in this country are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from it. The age for routine screening has recently been lowered to 45 so if you are 45 years of age or older, please get screened. Don’t put it off any longer, please get screened.”
She went on to note that people younger than 45 can also be victims of the disease (Chadwick was 43 when he passed away last year), and she urged everyone watching to know the symptoms and warnings of colon cancer, which can include blood in one’s stool, abdominal pain or cramping, fatigue, and unintended weight loss. “Please be proactive about your health,” she said. “Know the signs, know the science, listen to your body.”
Chadwick’s death was announced on August 28, 2020 by his family, who revealed that the Black Panther star was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, which later progressed to stage IV. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” his family’s statement read at the time. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
Since his passing, the actor continues to be remembered through awards and other tributes. In the past few months, Chadwick received the Best Actor title at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and the ‘Hero for the Ages’ accolade at the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
And the Golden Globes, where Chadwick was awarded again for his work in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, his wife gave an impassioned speech where she tried to imagine what the late actor would say, should he still be here today. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice that tells you that you can, that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing,” Simone said at the time. “I don’t have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love. Thank you for this opportunity to do exactly that.”