The late actor won the Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture award for his work in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, one of his last films. He passed away in August at the age of 43 after a difficult four-year battle with colon cancer.
Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward Boseman, accepted the award on his behalf on Saturday.
“As always, he would give all honor and glory to the most high God,” she said, through tears. “He would thank his mom and dad, and he would give honor to the ancestors as we now honor him. Thank you NAACP Image Awards for always giving him his flowers. He was an uncommon artist and an even more uncommon person. But the manner in which we lost him is not uncommon at all. Not in our community.”
She also urged the Black community to have colon cancer screenings and spoke more about the disease. “Black people in this country are 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer and 40 percent more likely to die from it. The age for routine screening has recently been lowered to 45 so if you are 45 years of age or older, please get screened. Don’t put it off any longer, please get screened,” she explained.
“This disease is beatable if you catch it in its early stages so you don’t have any time to waste even if you have no family history and even if you think nothing is wrong,” she continued, “And if you are younger than 45, please be proactive about your health. Know the signs, know the science, listen to your body. If you need more information and for a full list of colon cancer symptoms you can visit standuptocancer.org/coloncancersymptoms. Please, you are so needed and you are so loved. Please take your health into your own hands. Thank you.”
Anthony Mackie (The Banker), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Will Smith (Bad Boys For Life), and Forest Whitaker (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey) were nominated in the same category as Boseman. The Black Panther star also appeared in the In Memoriam segment and won the NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category for his work in Da 5 Bloods.
Boseman has picked up a few posthumous awards this year. Earlier in March, he won Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and in late February, he landed his first Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama for the Netflix film. In March, he also received his first Oscar nomination for the film—and has four nominations at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on April 4, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Boseman is the first actor to receive four nominations at the award show, according to Variety.