The heartbreaking tribute to Chadwick Boseman at the 2020 VMAs

We’re almost nine months into 2020 now, but even by early March, this year was being counted as one of the worst — if not the worst — most of us have ever experienced. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread like wildfire through the country, and shelter in place orders took effect, we’ve also had to contend with actual wildfires ravaging California, hurricanes slamming the Gulf Coast, one of the most contentious presidential elections in recent history, and the deaths of far too many. 

Among the friends and family members that we’ve said goodbye to, we’ve also lost beloved names from the sports world, Capitol Hill, and Hollywood. From John Lewis to Regis Philbin, Kobe Bryant, Naya Rivera, and many others, it seems that all 2020 does is take. And then again last Friday, 2020 took another beloved name: King T’Challa himself, Chadwick Boseman. 

How the VMAs honored Chadwick Boseman

The world learned of Chadwick Boseman’s death on August 28 when his family posted on Instagram to announce the sad news, writing, “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman.⁣ Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV…” The tributes and memories flooded social media as friends and fans mourned the passing of Boseman, and the VMAs also paid tribute, acknowledging the huge loss felt in Hollywood and the world over. 

In a segment dedicated to Boseman, which left no dry eyes, the screen simply stated: “The World Needs More Superheroes.” Footage played of Boseman accepting the Best Hero award at the 2108 MTV Movie & TV Awards, but instead of taking it for himself, he chose to recognize another hero. He said, “Receiving an award for playing a superhero is amazing but it’s even greater to acknowledge the heroes we have in real life.” He went on to bring James Shaw, Jr. up to the stage, who stopped a gunman at Waffle House earlier that year, saving countless lives. Boseman handed Shaw the award instead, telling him, “This is going to live at your house.” 

It’s the perfect embodiment of Chadwick Boseman’s spirit, and the way that his legacy will continue. The segment closed out with a strong sentiment: “Rest In Power.”

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