In loving memory of Chadwick Aaron Boseman
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Chad kept God close. As a writer, every word was a breath and every breath connected to the Creator. One of the most exacting writers I know, his work is exquisitely researched and detailed, with a precision of craft. Directing his plays was like jazz—an inspiring improvisation of back-and-forth idea-sharing and world-making. A far-reaching yet intimate, celebratory dance. Chad was the consummate collaborator. Both exigent and selfless in the art-making. Always connected to higher purpose. And always with love and respect.
Chad’s curiosity was boundless—he studied both the Judeo and Christian elements of the Bible, learned Hebrew, researched ancient Kemet and Yoruba—and all these cultures and languages appear in his writings. The layers of his writings are as intricately intertwined as the collective DNA of our humanity. In rehearsal, to his delight, he would uncover meanings that he did not consciously know he had put into his work—but his subconscious was operating on a whole other level. I do not exaggerate when I say that he was a prophet. In the numerous testimonials of the people he touched, these themes run through our relationships with Chad.
In one of his email addresses, he named himself YachadAharon—Ya’Chad Aharon (Aharon being Hebrew, perhaps derived from ancient Egyptian, for Aaron, his middle name). Ya’Chad—connecting himself to Ya/Jah, to the Almighty, to Spirit, to the All. But “yachad” also means “together” in Hebrew—the gift of collaboration, of sacred togetherness, was always present with Chad. And Aharon meaning “mountain of strength,” “high mountain,” “exalted.” Aharon in the Bible was the vessel through which God’s word was shared with the Israelites—due to Moses’s speech impediment—leading them from bondage to liberation. This kind of epic cosmology is what filled Chad’s plays, and he wrote of people’s journeys and struggles in discovering the sacred and holy, the God, within themselves. His writing documents the story of a generation and of a genre infused with Hip Hop culture and its connection to ancient wisdom and spirituality, to love, longing, loss, kinship, and family.
Humanity and the planet are worse without Chad among us. All I can muster is the knowledge of what brilliant light and energy has been released back into the universe. Chad, my brother in art, liberation, and justice, I will miss you dearly. I know that all who knew you will carry your generosity of spirit, of love, of connectedness into our work and the world. And we must make sure that future generations know of your brilliance, your sweet spirit, your faith, and the legacy of your timeless writing.
From Chad’s play Deep/Azure:
I’m holding/holding/holding on to the memories, to the possibilities/to the
memories, to the possibilities of our laughs in love.
laughs in love echo in my mind/ in my mind/ in my mind.
Oh how we would swing on our imaginations,
slide into sand with no boxes/no boundaries,
on the playground of our passions,
learning rules just to break them.
- Daniel Banks