Chadwick Boseman has been turning even more heads after his sexy, shirtless Rolling Stone cover went public. In the accompanying story, we now learned who helped the Black Panther star during his early days in Hollywood.
While studying at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Black Hollywood heavyweights Phylicia Rashad (also a Howard alum) and Denzel Washington both served as benefactors to Boseman.
“She would do a play in D.C. and you’d go see it, and she’d drive you home and talk to you, ‘How you eating? You look too skinny. You need a pork chop.’ We were just trying to aspire to her excellence,” recounted Boseman to Rolling Stone.
Rashad told the magazine she has fond memories of Boseman, who back then was a lanky kid with big dreams who hadn’t yet attained super hero status. “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,” said Rashad.
A track record of helping
This is Us star Susan Kelechi Watson, also a Howard alum (Bison roll deep in Hollywood), shared a story earlier this year about the generosity of Rashad. The then-budding actress had been accepted to a prestigious acting program at Oxford, but she couldn’t afford to go. That’s when Rashad stepped in to help.
“There were 10 of us,” Watson said on Live with Kelly & Ryan. “It was, like, $5,000 per person, and she calls [and says], ‘Denzel and I are paying for you guys to go.’”
Boseman has a similar story. He too was selected for that Oxford program, but his income at the time from working at a local bookstore wasn’t enough to cover the cost of the opportunity. Rashad and Washington made it happen.
Rashad rounded up celebrity friends to make sure the Howard students did not miss out on the acting lessons.
“After we got back, we got a benefactor letter. Denzel paid for me. I’m sure he has no idea. “It was random,” said Boseman. At the time, Boseman wrote Washington a thank you letter, but interestingly enough, the two have never met. Boseman says he looks forward to the day when he can thank Washington in person.