Netflix has established a $5.4 million scholarship in honor of late actor and Howard alum Chadwick Boseman. The scholarship will focus on students studying the dramatic arts at Howard, covering full tuition costs for all four years of study for selected students. Boseman's association with the streaming network includes their original films Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the latter adapted from August Wilson's stage play and earning him a posthumous Oscar nod.
"Many exemplary artists are not afforded the opportunity to pursue higher learning," shares Simone Ledward-Boseman, Boseman's widow. "We hope to support as many students as possible by removing the financial barrier to education. This endowment represents Chad’s devotion to the craft, his compassion for others, and his desire to support future storytellers. My deepest thanks to Ted Sarandos, Scott Stuber and our family at Netflix for their generous investment into the education of all present and future Boseman Scholars, and to President Wayne Frederick, Dean Phylicia Rashad and Mr. David Bennett for their partnership and continued commitment to Chad’s legacy at Howard. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the love and dedication shown by so many continuing to honor my husband’s work. I know he’d be proud."
The scholarship will initially be given to one student per class beginning this fall. The inaugural class of awardees are Sarah Long, a freshman studying musical theatre; Shawn Smith, a sophomore studying acting; Janee' Ferguson, a junior studying theatre arts administration; and Deirdre Dunkin, a senior studying dance. Beginning fall 2022, the scholarship will be annually awarded to an incoming freshman who demonstrates a drive for excellence, leadership, respect, empathy, and passion, all noted by the historically Black university as Boseman's own values as a student.
The scholarship follows the re-naming of Howard's college of fine arts for the late actor, who passed away last year. Boseman graduated Howard in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in directing, returning in 2018 to receive an honorary doctorate and give a commencement address.
Boseman rose to prominence in a string of biopics, playing legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson in 2013's 42, James Brown in Get on Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall. The actor, director, and playwright's stage work includes productions of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth with the National Shakespeare Company of New York, and Deep Azure, Boseman's 2005 Jeff Award-nominated play about police brutality. Boseman received a posthumous 2021 Academy Award nomination for his performance as Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Netflix.