The Truth About Chadwick Boseman And Michael B. Jordan's Relationship

Chadwick Boseman's passing late Friday night stunned the world and hearts everywhere are grieving the loss of this compassionate, talented star. Boseman had been privately battling colon cancer for four years. The announcement on his Instagram account revealed that throughout cancer treatment, Boseman continued to film iconic works such as Marshall, Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and several more.

Boseman is perhaps best known for his 2018 role as the superhero, T'Challa in Marvel's Black Panther. In the movie, T'Challa went up against villainous Eric Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan, in a fight to win the throne of the advanced civilization of Wakanda. Though they played enemies on screen, Boseman and Jordan were good friends off-screen, even occasionally popping up on Instagram at a basketball game or two. Boseman and Jordan's careers actually intersected in a somewhat serendipitous way back in 2003 on the set of the long-running, now defunct ABC soap opera All My Children. In an interview with TheWrap, Boseman and Jordan uncovered an interesting turn of events that they'd admittedly never discussed before.

Chadwick Boseman was fired and Michael B. Jordan was hired

In 2003, when Chadwick Boseman was 26, he was hired to play troubled teen Reggie Montgomery on All My Children. After a week in the role, the show's stereotypical depiction of a Black teenage gang member was more than Boseman could abide. He told TheWrap, "It's one of those things where you get a role, and you don't really know. When I got it, I was like, 'This is not part of my manifesto. This is not part of what I want to do. How can I make it work?'" Boseman reportedly wrestled with whether to play out the soap's stereotype of young Black men in America or offer his opinion on how the story line could be changed. Ultimately chose to speak up, in turn opening a door of opportunity for Jordan.

When Boseman voiced his opinion, the show responded by saying he was "too much trouble" and promptly fired him. Michael B. Jordan, then 16 and fresh off his role as teenage drug dealer Wallace on The Wire, stepped in to take over the part of Reggie Montgomery. Boseman notes the show took at least some of his suggestions and changed the character a bit for Jordan, telling TheWrap, "And for me, honestly, that's what this is about."

Boseman and Jordan rallied against stereotypes

All My Children was just one stepping stone in Jordan's impressive career and he was grateful to Boseman for speaking out and paving the way. Jordan told TheWrap, "I was playing this role not knowing that a lot of the things I was going through were because of what [Boseman had] already done for me. It's hard to speak in the moment about how things we do can affect other people. But this is a pure example, right here on the spot — we ain't never talked about this before a day in our lives — to understand how what people do now can directly affect what other people do in the future. And the work that we're doing on Black Panther is hopefully doing the same thing for the next group of actors that are coming up, just like our predecessors opened up doors and made things easier for us."

Michael B. Jordan continues to carry out Chadwick Boseman's legacy

Michael B. Jordan continues to pay it forward by taking on roles that cut through stereotypes and by adopting an inclusion rider that ensures diversity in his production company (via Esquire). Before his death, Boseman had most recently lent his efforts to Operation 42, an organization that provides funds to hospitals serving Black communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and he actively spoke out in support of organizations fighting for social justice (via Bleacher Report). Boseman's activism, his career, and his legacy will surely continue to open doors and inspire generations to come just as he did for a young Michael B. Jordan.