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Yes, Denzel Washington paid for Chadwick Boseman’s theatre programme at Oxford

“Denzel Washington paid the fees for a kid who couldn’t afford to attend Oxford’s summer theatre program,” reads a graphic circulating on Facebook in South Africa.

“Twenty years later the kid, Chadwick Boseman, thanked Denzel in person in the premiere of Black Panther.” The graphic shows photos of the American actors Denzel Washington and Chadwick Boseman.

Boseman died on 28 August 2020 at the age of 43 after a private battle with colon cancer. He sprang to global prominence for his starring role in the 2018 blockbuster film Black Panther, which featured a predominantly black cast and was the first superhero movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.

But Facebook’s fact-checking system has flagged the graphic as possibly false. Did Washington pay for Boseman’s theatre programme at Oxford? We checked.

‘Benefactor the dopest actor on the planet’

In June 2019 the American Film Institute selected Washington for its annual life achievement award. At the ceremony, Boseman took to the stage to pay tribute to the veteran actor.

A video of the speech can be seen on YouTube.

“Many of you already know the story that Mr Washington, when asked by Phylicia Rashad to join her in assisting nine theatre students from Howard University who had been accepted to a summer acting programme at the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford, he gracefully and privately agreed to contribute,” Boseman said.

“As fate would have it, I was one of the students he paid for. Imagine receiving the letter, that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet.”

He added: “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.”

The British American Drama Academy has published a tribute to Boseman, describing him as an alumnus of its 1998 Midsummer at Oxford programme, based in Magdalen College at the University of Oxford in the UK.

Yes, Denzel Washington paid for Chadwick Boseman to attend a summer acting programme at Oxford University. – Taryn Willows


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