Chadwick Boseman clarifies: he saw Klan rallies in South Carolina in 2015, not 2017

World Premiere of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther

A few weeks ago, Mr. Porter released their interview and editorial with Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman. I used it in the links, because while I like Boseman a lot, whenever I cover him, most people just shrug. I don’t take this to mean that people dislike Boseman, I just take this to mean that he’s not really the most gossip-worthy celebrity. He’s not messy, he’s very professional and measured in what he says, and he’s keeping it extra vanilla these days as he’s the lead of a major Marvel property. But in this Mr. Porter interview, Boseman did talk in detail about race and racism in America. He grew up in South Carolina – he’s seen the confederate flags, and the Klansmen hiding in plain sight. Here are the notable sections from Mr. Porter.

Mr Boseman grew up in a religious home, in Anderson, South Carolina, near the border with Georgia. His mother was a nurse and his father worked in a cotton factory. “We weren’t rich, but I had what I needed.”

He had a happy childhood, and was well behaved. But racism was ever-present. “It’s not hard to find in South Carolina. Going to high school, I’d see Confederate flags on trucks. I know what it’s like to be a kid at an ice-cream shop when some little white kid calls you ‘n-gger’, but your parents tell you to calm down because they know it could blow up. We even had trucks try to run us off the road.”

…We talk for a while about these fractious times. Does a movie such as Black Panther feel like progress in the midst of it all? Again, Mr Boseman strikes a note of caution. “Let me give you an example,” he says. “When I was shooting Captain America: Civil War in Atlanta, I used to drive back on off-days to go see my family in Anderson. It’s about two hours. And I would see the Klan holding rallies in a Walmart car park. So it’s like we’re going forwards and backwards at the same time. People don’t want to experience change, they just want to wake up and it’s different. But that – shooting Civil War as Black Panther and then driving past the Klan – that’s what change feels like.”

[From Mr. Porter]

It says something about Trump’s America that I didn’t even bat an eye at this or find it strange at all. I live in the South too, in the same state where white supremacist killed a woman last summer. I see the Confederate flags and that was totally a Klan rally in Charlottesville last summer too. But I guess Boseman got some sh-t for telling the truth, or maybe he just wanted to clarify, because he wrote this on his Instagram:


A post shared by Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) on

Basically, he drove past Klan rallies in 2015, not 2017. And he’s really trying to be measured about this too, because A) these are dangerous times and B) he wants people of all races to embrace this film. He doesn’t want Black Panther to become the Colin Kaepernick of the Marvel franchises (as in, respected in the black community and scorned by too many white people).

World Premiere of Marvel Studios Black Panther

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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48 Responses to “Chadwick Boseman clarifies: he saw Klan rallies in South Carolina in 2015, not 2017”

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  1. Hh says:

    I’m not sure why anyone would think he meant 2017, when Captain America: Civil War came out in May 2016, so the sighting had to be well before that. But given the common sense that one would have to put aside to vote for and continue to support Trump, I can’t expect logical reasoning.

    • Marissa says:

      logic went out a long time ago. also this:

      I am sitting in a crowded coffee shop and this white woman just asked me if she could have my chair. The one I am sitting in.I said no.She asks why not.I said leave me alone or I will throw this Ed Catmull book at you.She reports me to the manager.Y’all. This is 2018.— Sabrina Hersi Issa (@beingbrina) February 10, 2018

  2. Chef Grace says:

    People will be assholes no matter. Racists will use any excuse to hate. Living in Texas I see plenty of that. Just look at our good old boy government here.
    I like this young man. He seems well put together and raised. Can’t wait to see this movie.

    • Mia4s says:

      “I like this young man”

      @Chef Grace I mean no offence (I don’t know how old you are) but I found the “young” thing so funny because he reads young to me too and I think he does to a lot of people….but he’s almost 42 years old! That’s certainly not old by any means, but it’s older than me! I seriously thought he was more a contemporary of Michael B Jordan, but Jordan is 11 years younger than him! LOL! Looking good Chadwick!

      • AnotherDirtyMartini says:

        He’s 42?! 😮 I thought he was in his 20s or maybe around 30, latest.

        He’s cool. Sucks to have to release a statement…aww, let’s not hurt those white supremist’s feelings now! I wonder if they even have feelings – beyond hatred and anger, that is.

  3. Mia4s says:

    Yeah I’m not sure what it says when I read the quote with either year and my reaction isn’t shock it’s just…yeah. I really wish I could be shocked.

    The irony is “nice and lovely” doesn’t get many hits but such is the nature of gossip. I guess we will see how he holds up. He’s not perfect (he supported Nate Parker and has never walked that back. Gross.) But he’s a guy in his 40s whose been trying to break through forever, not some 20 year old overnight sensation. He’ll be overcautious for awhile.

    • Steph says:

      I don’t understand how people thought that it was during this movie? He said 2x that it was during Captain America: Civil War. Am I missing something?

  4. Indiana Joanna says:

    Excellent response.

    It reminded me of a couple of documentaries aired on PBS this past month. One on James Baldwin, a remarkable intellectual and author. He spoke about racism in the most biting, truthful way, and he was “measured.” I guess that comes from being brilliant, thoughtful, and completely honest.

    Unlike our present nut job of a commander in chief.

    Also, Lorraine Hansberry was an extraordinary author and activist. And measured. She wrote that the racial turmoil of the 60s left whites “confused.” Now that is quite a measured (and kind) way to put it.

  5. IlsaLund says:

    So looking forward to seeing this movie. I hope it does well inspite of the crazies. I’ve always liked Chadwick Boseman and hope his career trajectory continues upward. It’s regrettable that he has to put out a statement like this but it is a sign of the times we live in. There is a fear of “white backlash” against the movie because people are stupid and ignorant. My son showed me a Facebook post from some white guy complaining of racism and what if there was a movie made about the KKK, people wouldn’t like that. Evidently the idiot had confused the Black Panther movie with the Black Panther organization. Le sigh.

  6. V4Real says:

    2015 or 2017. Is that really a significant difference? People will find any excuse they can to discredit a Black Man’s truth.

    Can’t wait for BP and to see this gorgeous sexy man on screen. I’m glad success came for him late in life. He’s so humble but then again he probably always was.

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      Seriously, that was my thought. Oh, a whole two years earlier, well never mind, completely different times /sarcasm/ ( and not intended at him, but anyone complaining about the discrepancy btw 2015 and 2017. I’d argue it has gotten worse, after all, Obama was in the White House in 2017!

  7. Esmom says:

    He wasn’t really on my radar but I’m here for him now. I can’t wait to see the film. Although it’s extremely depressing to think of it becoming “the Colin Kapernick of the Marvel franchises.” Depressing because that would not be at all surprising given this extra heightened climate of hate and hypocrisy we’re living in.

  8. Mar says:

    This is peak WTFery. A black man had to correct the year in which he witnessed a Klan rally so he doesn’t alienate the white audience. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.

  9. Rapunzel says:

    I don’t see Black Panther becoming the Colin Kaepernick of the Marvel movies. There might be a small minority of idiots who don’t like it, but I think most people see that it’s time for this kind of movie.

    • Betsy says:

      I don’t even like super hero movies, but I made an exception for Wonder Woman and I will likely make an exception for this (provided it’s not too hand to hand combat type violent. So much is!).

      But I like the idea of renting an enjoyable movie to aggravate sad white men.

    • V4Real says:

      I agree,Rapunzal. People keep in mind Spawn back in 1997 was a Black hero from the comics starring Michael Jai White and it did very well. He was also in the running for Black Panther when it was first discussed years ago.

      Also remember Blade starring Wesley Snipes did very well. Don’t let a few racist discourage you. BP will not suffer Colin’s fate because we the people make the difference by contributing to the box office. We have no control over the powers that be in football.

  10. lightpurple says:

    If you are hoping to see this film next weekend, get your advance tickets now. Here in Boston several showings for Thursday and Friday and Saturday are already sold out or close to being sold out.

  11. Leigh says:

    “because while I like Boseman a lot, whenever I cover him, most people just shrug”

    Because he’s not famous really, not yet. But that will change.

    • Tania says:

      Some of us have been watching his movies for years!

      42 (he played Jackie Robinson!)
      Draft Day (with Kevin Costner)
      Get On Up! (unfortunate James Brown movie)
      Message from the King
      Marshall (the first black supreme court justice, also starring Sterling K. Brown)

      I have loved this man’s acting for years. Unfortunately, now I’ll have to share him with everyone.

  12. Tig says:

    Count me among those thinking he was in his late 20s/early 30s. And, at my age, consider that a “young man” too-LOL!
    Re the clarification-who thinks a film coming out in 2017 was filmed in 2017? And gee whiz a Klan rally in 2015 vs now? The year is what matters, vs the fact one happened at all??? This movie will do great BO- the character and his world is perfect for film.

  13. SM says:

    Please, no need to bend over backwards for him, the racist shits are not going to see this film anyway precisely because it is a superhero movie with black people, so I wish the Marvel PR people would ditch the extra niceness and just embrace the fact that they indeed did make a superhero movie with mainly black cast and black man in the lead.
    And overall, he made it clear in his original quote that it was while they were making Captain America.

  14. Bridget says:

    Oh wait, it was 2015? Never mind, racism is done now in 2017!

  15. Mel says:

    Honestly, I appreciate his wanting to clarify it but 2015-2017 feels very po-tay-to / po-tah-to.
    The takeaway is that it wasn’t 1960. It’s very troublesome, to say the least.
    It’s also infuriating that he feels like he has to “edit” his experience as a black men to appease a (racist) portion of the population (let’s get real, only the racist feel butthurt) while the divider in chief has made it his mission to add fuel to the fire.
    He should be able to speak his truth without fear of a backlash. Lord knows enough white men do it!

  16. Erica says:

    I’m his age and grew up in small town North Carolina. I believe every word. The KKK is alive and well and to believe otherwise is ignorance.

  17. Who ARE these people? says:

    Why does the writer say that as a child, Boseman was “well-behaved” but still experienced racism?

    The racism he experienced had nothing to do with his behavior and everything to do with the color of his skin.

    This subtle association between a POC behavior and racism, this suggestion of cause and effect, is a problem unto itself.

    It reminds me of the NY Times profile of the “nice young Nazi” that puzzled why he was racist despite never having undergone “racial” attacks.

    It’s always on the Black person, never on the racist.

    • Erica says:

      Yes, that pinged me, too. So much wrapped up in that adjective.

    • thedecorguru says:

      Good catch. There was no reason his behavior had to be mentioned. Does any other famous actors well-behaved childhood get mentioned?! No, only if said actor had relevant achievements.

      It’s a fine example of that subtle yet powerful prejudice that we need to be more aware of.

    • redsolesista says:

      This an an example of the microagressions we have tried to explain to non POC. The so well spoken, so articulate, well behaved’s POC have to deal with on almost a daily basis.

  18. BlueSky says:

    I have already bought my ticket for this movie and i’m very excited to see it. I detect no lies in his statement. I live in SC, not far from Anderson, where he’s from and he is right. Flags on trucks, license plates, T shirts, etc. Even though I was never a big fan of former Gov Nikki Haley, I’m glad she took the flag down from the state capital.

    I love how people who flaunt that flag are all “heritage” but when I want to talk about slavery, it becomes “why are we harping on the past?” You can’t have it both ways.

    I once told my aunt that the guys who are flaunting those flags are the ones that usually hit on me which is weird as a POC, lol.

    • hogtowngooner says:

      +1,000 on “you can’t have it both ways”

      Driving just north of Toronto, I saw a Confederate flag on a pickup truck that had an ONTARIO license plate. Canada was not at all part of the Civil War. It’s about flaunting “white pride” (lol) in the face of an absurd siege mentality.

  19. Lady Keller says:

    Oh wait, clan rallies back in 2015? Well then, no need to worry about it anymore. Such things would never happen these days right?

    I don’t usually see movies in theatres but I might have to make a point to go see this. It’s the same way I felt about wonder woman, I just want to show support to make a point. Not that I think this movie needs my support, anything marvel is basically a license to print money.

  20. adastraperaspera says:

    Looking forward to the movie. Ridiculous he had to issue any statement to clarify for white supremacists who won’t come see the film anyway. I live in the south also, and the klan and confederate crap is everywhere. Feels like it’s 1918 instead of 2018.

  21. Cara says:

    First time commenting. I grew up about an hour from where he did in SC though I’m two years behind him. I have no doubt he’s seen rallies. When we were in high school, the Redneck Store opened in Laurens, SC, which sold confederate flag-themed stuff, and the confederate flag was still on top of the state House. SC is backwards in many, many ways.

    • megs283 says:

      post-college days, I briefly “dated” (let’s be honest – messed around with) a guy from Ohio that wore a Confederate flag on his belt buckle. I’m from Massachusetts, and I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that he (a) wore it being from OHIO and (b) saw no problem with it.

  22. Valiantly Varnished says:

    People are so stupid. Why would he have to clarify his comments when he clearly states it was while he was shooting Captain America: Civil War – which came out in 2016 and filmed in 2015. And considering that we have Klan rallies happening in this country in present time his comment is still very relevant.

  23. GirlMonday says:

    Welp, now that Idris is engaged, I need a new celeboo. Mr. Boseman is definitely a contender

  24. Nancypants says:

    Just chiming in: I was stationed in Alabama about 10 years ago and lived in a small town near Montgomery.
    One day, there were flyers posted all over town about a Klan march that was scheduled to be held down main st. the following Saturday.
    They were written in Crayon. IJS.

    Well, the town police force – about half black and half white – did their own flyers and encouraged everyone to stay away and we did.
    The Klan held it’s march (they had a permit) and it lasted about 10 minutes because no one showed up.
    I’m not saying it was right or wrong but they didn’t get the attention they desired and no one got hurt or killed and nothing was set on fire.

    A few years ago, I was at a party in a bar and this woman (not a Southerner) kept going on and on about how she has just always had a love of the confederate flag and how she had one in her garage and her husband wouldn’t let her fly it out front of the house and the whole bar got quiet and listened and I finally had enough and said, “Damn girl. I’m so Southern I’m related to myself and I wouldn’t fly a confederate flag.”

    Side note: It’s not just Southerners. Some of the most racist people I’ve ever seen live in the Northwest part of the US; Montana, Idaho, Wyoming…

    • Alarmjaguar says:

      First of all I LOL’ed at your comment to her, but good on you and thank you! Second, you are totally right about it not being just the South

  25. Nancypants says:

    p.s. Walking down the hall one day at a base in Alaska with my First SGT and the Chief of Social Actions/Equal Employment he said, “I don’t want any white women in my family! I don’t care if it’s Caroline Kennedy herself!”

    Well s**t, if that’s how you feel but I was surprised given his position , you know?
    It’s everywhere.