(LOS ANGELES) — Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman returned to his alma mater Saturday to give the commencement address at Howard University’s 2018 Commencement Convocation.
This year’s convocation celebrated the Washington, D.C. historically black university’s 150th graduating class. And Boseman offered real advice to the audience, which included students, alumni and proud parents.
After celebrating Howard University alums that have also made it to the big screen, such as Phylicia Rashad and her sister Debbie Allen, Boseman recalled his early career and how he felt “conflicted” when playing what he said was a stereotypical role on an soap opera, which he wouldn’t name. However, one of Boseman’s early acting credits was on ABC’s All My Children where he played Reggie Porter, a young gang member — a role that was later also played by his Black Panther co-star, Michael B. Jordan.
After being fired for criticizing the unnamed show’s writing, which his said was was stereotypical for a black character, Boseman said it paved the way for him to tell stories about significant African-Americans such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, all roles he’s played to great acclaim.
Chadwick also shared some powerful advice about college: “Sometimes your grades don’t give a real indication of what your greatness might be.”
On living in the moment: “Invest in the importance of this moment and cherish it,” he said. “Savor the tastes of your triumphs today. Don’t just swallow the moment whole without digesting what is actually happening.”
And on finding your purpose: “When you…are deciding on next jobs, next steps, careers, further education, you would rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”
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