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Chadwick Boseman Honored As MTV Awards’ Hero Of The Ages 

Chadwick Boseman was honored at the MTV Movie and TV Awards: Greatest Of All Time show as the ‘Hero For The Ages.’ His Marvel costars Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle honored the late actor on Sunday with a heartfelt tribute in which the two reflected on Boseman as a real-life superhero who impacted everyone he met. 

The two honored Boseman in a video message. Boseman unfortunately died due to complications from colon cancer this past August. He’s starred in countless iconic films, beyond just the Black Panther in the Marvel Universe, Boseman was widely celebrated for his portrayals of prominent Black icons Jackie Robinson, in the film 42, and James Brown, in the film Get On Up. 

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Downey Jr. began his tribute by reflecting on his relationship with Boseman and the connection he always made with his audience. “The second you first saw him on screen or had the opportunity to meet him in person, his energy and intensity was undeniable. There was something different and special about Chadwick Boseman,” Downey Jr. stated. Cheadle then added that he had an inspiring and influential energy that would impact everyone on set. 

“He had an incredible power to unify people in their love for his work and their respect for him as a person. The way he lived his life united people behind a higher purpose, and that will be his legacy.”

Downey Jr. then reflected on the impact that Boseman will continue to have on humanity through his work, especially as the Black Panther. “The Avengers have all been given an opportunity to portray characters that are meaningful and hopefully memorable. Mr. Boseman truly embodied what it meant to be a superhero. His impact as a groundbreaking leading man, as an icon on screen, won’t be quantified by the box office records he broke, but by the legions of fans who will celebrate him for many years to come.”

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Cheadle added onto Downey Jr.’s comments by claiming that while Chadwick Boseman will always be known as the Black Panther, his portrayal of other prominent Black figures in US history will have just as much of a cultural impact. “Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, Jackie Robinson, he brought humanity and truth to the portrayal of people who felt larger than life, and he did it in a way that honored their memories,” Cheadle said. 

Downey Jr. also referenced Boseman’s generous and courageous spirit off the screen, specifically citing when Boseman donated a portion of his salary for the film 21 Bridges to his co-star Sienna Miller after learning she was paid less than him for her appearance in the film. “His list of selfless and inspirational acts and deeds is too long to recount here,” Downey Jr. continued, “consistently showing up during trial and triumph for family, friends, and fans alike, some of whom were battling the same invisible enemy. He was the most heroic when just being Chad. That’s when he was bigger than anyone he played on screen.”

Cheadle concluded the memorial for the star by stating that both him and Downey Jr. were both “so proud to be a part of this award recognizing him. The greatest of all time, our hero for the ages: Chadwick Boseman.” 

Entertainment Weekly recently chose Boseman as one of the honorees for their 2020 Entertainers of the Year, and he is also projected to posthumously receive the Independent Filmmaker Project’s annual Actor Tribute award at the Gotham Awards this January. 

Olympics

Tommie Smith and John Carlos (Finally) Inducted Into The Olympic Hall Of Fame

On November 1st of this year, former Olympic medalist sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos will finally be inducted into the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Hall of Fame. Before there were athlete activists like Colin Kaepernick [who began the nationwide trend of taking a knee during the National Anthem before games in protest of racial injustice, inequality, and violence minorities experience everyday in this country] there was Smith and Carlos. 

Smith won gold and Carlos won bronze during the 200 meter dash at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. While they were standing on the winner stands they both raised a fist with a leather glove on, a symbol that was synonymous with the Black Panther group, and looked to the ground as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played. This was the original form of taking a knee, and like Kaepernick, the two were immediately ostracized and punished for the “political protest.” The Olympics expelled both Smith and Carlos from the games and any event affiliated with the Olympics, and they were immediately sent home after the medal ceremony. Now, nearly 51 years later, they’re being honored by the Olympics for their bravery and for unknowingly starting a protest movement that would last into modern day sports culture. 

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Tommie Smith (right) John Carlos (left) crossing the finish line at the 200 meter dash

When we think of the year 1968 during the Summer Olympics, we have to remember the context. Martin Luther King Jr. was recently assassinated, there was a war for peace during the actual Vietnam war, and the fight for racial equality was at its height, for the time at least. Racial tensions were already extremely high, so the USOPC was attempting to keep the ‘68 games as non-political as they could, ironic for an event in which every single country in the world competes to see who’s the best. 

According to The Washington Post’s full account of the iconic 1968 Olympic moment, “The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee  initially decided against a suspension, at the time, intending to issue a warning to the rest of the American athletes competing in Mexico. The International Olympic Committee demanded a stronger response, though, fearing that racial dissension might spread to other delegations if USOC refused to suspend Smith and Carlos,’ according to a dispatch sent from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City at the time.”

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That year for the Olympics was doomed from the start, as it began with controversy. Black athletes from all parts of the world were upset at the inclusion of Apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia in the games that year. Many protested by threatening not to participate, and some actually didn’t. Others were demanding that more black coaches be hired, and accused the then president of the International Olympic Committee of racism and antisemitism for the inclusion of the country, so much so that they demanded his termination. 

Luckily, everyone besides the USOPC saw the bravery and heroic nature behind Smith and Carlos’ peaceful protest and they’ve been honored and praised ever since. The two already have a long list of awards and achievements from the now iconic Olympic moment, including induction into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame. In addition the two were able to go to the White House and meet President Obama along with the rest of that years U.S. Summer Olympic team.

Now, the U.S. Olympic Committee is finally catching up with the rest of the world and inducting the two star athlete activists into the Hall of Fame, it only took five decades.