Fans and fellow actors continue to mourn the loss of Chadwick Boseman, who passed away Friday after a battle with colon cancer. “Extra’s” Nate Burleson spoke with Boseman’s close friend from Howard University, J. Kyle Manzay.
He told Nate of their friendship, “We just had a connection, a real sincere guy, and that’s lasted for years and years.”
Speaking of how Boseman carried himself before he made it in Hollywood, Manzay said, “Kind of the same way. Great sense of humor, always really, really rooted.”
He added, “If we go out to dinner or have lunch in the café, this man’s praying for a good two minutes. Mine is ‘rub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub.’ He’d have his hands and didn’t care what people thought… There was always a spiritual aura [around] him, that was what he was rooted in, but at the same time, always down-to-earth.”
Sharing a favorite memory, he said, “We used to think we were big grown-ups and get these really thick Philly cigars, cheap—shouldn’t even be smoking them—and go to the football field late at night and we would smoke these cigars and talk about life, man.”
J. Kyle said he did know about Chadwick’s cancer, explaining, “I didn’t know how severe. I knew he had it and that it returned.” He continued, “But we’re family and that’s not something that we put out there… A lot of people really, really close to him didn’t know till recently as well. That’s the way he chose to handle it.”
Getting emotional, he said, “One of the most profound things, when we last spoke, even when he was going through what he was going through secretly, he was talking about there was a kid dying, he wanted a ‘Black Panther’ package… and he went out of his way to get this kid a ‘Black Panther’ package… That’s him… He’s just a great, great human being.”
As for how he wants the star to be remembered, Manzay said, “I think his work is doing that, so I want him to be remembered for that… He was that same sincere, grounded human being who would give anybody his full attention and so there, he was really like the benevolent king that Black Panther portrayed.”