Bola, the son of gospel musician Yinka Ayefele has officially graduated from Howard University, Washington. Yinka Ayefele, the proud dad shared a photo from his graduation where ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman ‘T’Challa’ gave the commencement speech.
Chadwick Boseman, the star of the wildly successful Black Panther film, encouraged the graduates of Howard University on Saturday to find purpose in their lives–a message familiar to any current and future entrepreneur.
“Purpose is an essential element of you–it is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history,” Boseman said in his commencement speech. “Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
Boseman went on to applaud the graduating class for their on-campus protests this year. In March, students staged a sit-in at the administration building when an embezzlement scandal involving the misuse of financial aid funds was uncovered. As a result, six faculty members were fired and the university agreed to several demands, including re-examining on-campus housing policies and forming a task force to address sexual assault and harassment.
Boseman, who graduated from the historically black university in 2000, recalled his days of student activism and told the crowd that their experience advocating for change on campus will help them prepare for any adversity they may face in their careers.
“Many of you will leave Howard and enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalization,” Boseman said in his speech. “The fact that you have struggled with this university that you loved is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world that you are entering.”
Boseman related his message to an earlier time in his career when he took a role as a gang member on a soap opera. He said he felt “conflicted” about the part that was “wrapped up in assumptions about us as black folk,” but took it anyway. He was praised for his portrayal of the character, but said he was fired when he questioned the way the part was written.
“What do you do when the principles that were instilled [in] you at Howard close the door?” Boseman asked in his speech. “Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you realize what you’re really fighting against.”
While Boseman was addressing a class of young graduates, his sentiments can extend to budding or established entrepreneurs: if you don’t have a purpose for what you do, it will be difficult to find the passion to get through the everyday challenges.
The actor concluded his speech by crossing his arms over his chest in an X formation and shouting “Howard forever”–a riff on the popular line from Black Panther when his character shouts “Wakanda forever.”