Long live the real life Wakanda, Howard University.
Black Panther star, Chadwick Boseman, made his way back to his alma mater as the 150th Commencement Ceremony speaker for HU and recipient of an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters. In addition to his speech, he announced he would help re-establish the school’s college of fine arts, a program that had been consolidated within the Department of Art in his undergrad.
Here are some of the wise words he imparted on the Class of 2018 on Saturday morning.
1 On His Perception of Howard
“This is a magical place, a place where the dynamics of positives and negatives shift in extremes … Almost anything can happen here … Howard’s legacy is not wrapped up in the money that you will make, but in the challenges that you choose to confront. As you honor your past, press on with purpose.”
2 On Running Into Muhammed Ali on the Quad During Undergrad
“What an honor to be challenged by the GOAT, the greatest of all time, for a brief moment … I walked away floating like a butterfly … He was transferring the spirit of the fighter to me. Sometimes you need to feel the pain and sting of defeat to activate the real passion and purpose that God predestined inside of you.”
3 On Referencing Howard’s Nickname “The Hilltop”
“There’s a reason why they call Howard ‘the Hilltop’ … Beyond the physical campus, the hilltop represents the culmination of the intellectual and spiritual journey you have undergone while you were here. You have been climbing this academic slope for at least three or four years. … Savor the taste of your triumphs today, don’t just swallow them all whole without digesting what is actually happening here. Look down over what you conquered and appreciate what God has brought you through.”
4 On Challenging the Stereotypical Roles He was Offered
“Forget their stories, I can tell my own stories … Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is and how you need to fight it. When I dared to challenge the systems that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me — a path to my destiny. When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who stands against it.”
5 On Moving Forward in a Career Path
“When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history. Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you need to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
6 On Always Taking the Road Less Travelled
“I don’t know what your future is, but if you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that’s ultimately proven to have more victory, more glory, then you will not regret it. This is your time.”