Chadwick Boseman’s Wife Simone Gives Tearful Tribute at Gotham Awards: “Keep Shining Your Light On Us”

"He was the most honest person I’ve ever met"

chadwick boseman wife keep shining your light tribute simone ledward boseman widow
Simone Ledward Boseman, image via Twitter/@KyleBuchanan

At Monday’s Gotham Awards, Simone Ledward Boseman accepted an award on behalf of her late husband Chadwick Boseman. Via EW, she offered a tearful tribute honoring “the most honest person I’ve ever met.”

Boseman had been nominated for Best Actor for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomand while Riz Ahmed eventually won for Sound of Metal, Boseman received a posthumous Actor Tribute. His widow made a virtual appearance, offering one of the most emotionally raw speeches of this or any other award ceremony.

“He was the most honest person I’ve ever met,” she said, “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. And so it became how he lived his life, day in, day out. Imperfect, but determined.

 “In doing so, he was able to give himself over fully in every moment,” she continued, “to be totally present in his own life and in the lives of people he became. He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the none, the one, and the all.”

Ledwick Boseman also channeled her husband’s own words: “‘A vessel to be poured into and out of,’ he said. He harnessed the power of letting go and letting God’s love shine through.” She added that, “He realized that when one is able to recognize that when their strength does not come from themself, they rarely mess up. That’s what he was doing when he was acting. [He] was not merely telling a story or reading lines on a page, but modeling a path to true fulfillment.”

She thanked the Gotham Awards for the “acknowledgment not only of his profound work but of his impact on this industry and this world,” and concluded with, “Chad, thank you. I love you. I am so proud of you. Keep shining your light on us. Thank you.” Check out clips from the speech below.

Since his death last year, Boseman has been the subject of many emotional tributes, including from Spike Lee, Michael B. Jordan, and Ryan Coogler. His hometown of Anderson, South Carolina plans to erect a statue.