Chadwick Boseman NFT Sparks Controversy, Gets Redesign Following Late Actor’s Oscars Loss

Chadwick Boseman NFT
Twitter/Andre Oshea

An NFT created of the late Chadwick Boseman for the 93rd Academy Awards is being redesigned after sparking backlash online.

Andre Oshea, one of the artists hired to produce the non-fungible token, took to Instagram Monday to announce the redesign, and to apologize “for any upset caused.”

“I now recognize that Chadwick’s face is a triggering reminder of his death,” he wrote, “rather than his life.”

Rising to prominence in the last few months, NFTs are one-of-a-kind digital artworks that are redeemed via a blockchain. While an NFT could be one of many things, including a JPEG, a GIF or an MP3, Oshea’s was a golden sculpture of Boseman’s head modeled in 3D, off of his appearance in the Disney-Marvel smash Black Panther.

While the Boseman NFTs were Oscars-themed, they were not commissioned by the Academy. The plan was to auction off one additional copy of the NFT, with 50% of the proceeds going to the Colon Cancer Foundation. (Boseman passed away of the disease in August at age 43).

Oshea first announced the NFT auction Saturday, and even then, social media questioned the move. “Idk what’s worse the fact that it’s an Nft, the fact that Chadwick Boseman’s death is being commodified, or that this is in every Oscar nominees’ gift bags,” tweeted one Twitter user.

After Boseman, who was up for Best Actor on Sunday, lost (in a surprise turn of events) to The Father star Anthony Hopkins, the NFT felt all the more like a slap in the face, both to the star and to those who admired him.

On Friday, though, the redesigned piece will be auctioned off via the NFT marketplace known as Rarible, where it is expected to net over $1 million. As promised, half of the proceeds will go to the Colon Cancer Foundation in Boseman’s honor.

Oshea’s full statement on the controversy can be found below:

“I want to address the comments, press and the misinformation around the unveiling of my tribute NFT artwork of Chadwick Boseman this past weekend. I want you all to know that I’ve listened, heard and taken it all in as an artist and I apologize for any upset caused.

I was one of several artists asked by Nomine(ETH) to produce an NFT artwork to celebrate the Oscar nominees with a 50/50 split between a charity and the artists. My specific task was to produce an artwork in the memory of late Chadwick Boseman which was NOT included in the gift bags given to the winners but was set to be auctioned off as a single 1/1 NFT.

For this project, I created a 3D animation inspired by one of my favorite films – Black Panther. As an artist whose work focuses on afrofuturism and new worlds, I felt like there was a natural synergy there. I wanted to create a digital monument that embodied Chadwick’s influence as a hero to all the Black kids everywhere while raising awareness about colon cancer and its impact on Black communities. I also loved that the funds going to The Colon Cancer Foundation would fund 10,000 colorectal cancer screenings to underserved communities in 2021. Young Black men are 30 percent more likely to be infected by colon cancer and this was a big opportunity to draw attention to this fact.

I now recognize that Chadwick’s face is a triggering reminder of his death rather than his life, and I will be redesigning the artwork to be auctioned off later this week. I appreciate all of the love and support from both community and strangers and I’m motivated to push forward with this piece. I will still be donating 50% of the funds to the Colon Cancer Foundation to fund their invaluable work with cancer research and testing.”

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