With all the well-deserved hype surrounding the historic Marvel movie since its release in February 2018, it's easy to overlook just how unimaginable this would have been just a few short years ago. Luckily, star Chadwick Boseman — King T'Challa himself — reminded us of Black Panther's long journey to success, and how it has become a positive force for change in the industry. Read his powerful speech in full below:
"Well I'll be. I didn't think I was gonna have to speak. Obviously we have to thank SAG-AFTRA for this moment of appreciation and celebration of this film. I'd like to thank our director Ryan Coogler, and some execs: Bob Iger, Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso — I know, I'm gonna save the best for last, I'm not going to forget Kevin Feige. And this cast, this ensemble. When I think of going to work everyday, and the passion and intelligence, of the resolve and discipline that everybody showed, I also think of two questions that we all have received during the course of multiple publicity runs. And one is: Did we know that this movie was going to receive this kind of response. Meaning, was it going to make a billion dollars, was it going to still be around during this awards season? And the second question is: Has it changed the industry? Has it actually changed how the industry works? How it sees us? And my answer to that is: To be young, gifted, and Black.
"Because all of us up here know (and Andy [Serkis], we include you, too....man, you got great timing, boy...great timing). we all know what it's like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young, gifted, and Black. We know what it's like to be told there's not a screen for you to be featured on; a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it's like to be the tail and not the head; we know what it's like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day. Because we knew — not that we would be around during awards season and it would make $1 billion, but we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something that we wanted to give, and to come to work with every day, and to solve problems with this group of people every day, with this director, that is something I wish all actors would get the opportunity to experience. If you get to experience that, you will be a fulfilled artist. Now...the question of 'will we be around?' — don't give me music!
"I just have to say, it's a pleasure to be celebrated by you, to be loved by you. And one thing I do know with 'Did it change the industry?' is that you can't have a Black Panther now without a 2 on it."