The 25th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards aired last night, January 27th, and Marvel’s Black Panther took home one of the night’s top honors: Best Performance By A Cast In A Motion Picture. The superhero film was up against other mega-popular movies like Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star Is Born. And while the award is a huge honor in and of itself, it was star Chadwick Boseman’s acceptance speech that’s garnering attention.
After thanking his fellow cast mates and all the people who helped make the movie possible, the actor delved into what Black Panther means for our culture—and what it feels like to be “young, gifted, and black” in American society. “[…] All of us up here know—to be young, gifted and black—we all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young gifted and black. We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above.”
He continued: “And that is what we went to work with everyday. Because we knew not that we would be around during award season or that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing. That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”
You can watch the full speech below:
Black Panther’s success flies in the face of Hollywood’s historical insistence that audiences don’t want to see diversity on their screens, and its record-breaking box office numbers have the potential to change the shape (and face) of the industry. Congratulations to Boseman and his fellow cast members. They—and so many actors of color—have waited far too long to have their place in the spotlight.