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Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman reflects on education at Howard, Oxford

Cast member Chadwick Boseman poses at the premiere of "Black Panther" in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 29, 2018. Source: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

As the film Black Panther has grossed more than $700 million worldwide – “annihilating” other new films according to the New York Times – its charismatic star Chadwick Boseman appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

In the interview with Rolling Stone published last week, Boseman reflected on the development of his career – namely his education.

The Anderson, South Carolina native studied at the iconically African-American school Howard University in Washington, D.C., almost 20 years ago.

“At a historically black college, you’re getting turned on to all these things – the pantheon of our culture,” he said of his time studying there. “It’s John Coltrane, it’s James Baldwin. And it’s Black Panther.”

Other esteemed alumni of Howard include NFL Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea and California’s first female attorney general Kamala Harris.

Macarthur “genius” Fellowship recipient and author Ta-Nehisi Coates – who was also a writer of Black Panther comics – has called Howard the “crossroads of the black diaspora”.

While studying at Howard he had The Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad as a teacher and mentor, who helped him attend a summer program to study theatre at Oxford University along with financial assistance from Denzel Washington.

Unbeknownst to Washington, a financial grant assisted Boseman to attend the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer in Oxford Program. “I’ve been waiting to meet him, so I can tell him,” said Boseman.

The Hollywood star also told Rolling Stone that at Oxford he had studied the Western canon, including William Shakespare, Samuel Beckett and Howard Pinter. “But I always felt like black writers were just as classical. It’s just as difficult to do August Wilson, and the stories he’s telling are just as epic.”

Former professor Vera Katz recently said of teaching Boseman at Howard: “He was very interested in black history, very aware of his culture, and spoke about it a lot. And the plays he wrote had a lot of African reverberations, African ritual in it.”

Boseman is also an alumnus of the Digital Film Academy in New York and worked as a drama instructor with the Junior Scholars Program at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

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