At the MTV Movie and TV Awards over the weekend, Chadwick Boseman (AKA The Black Panther) used his Best Hero win to honour a real-life hero — James Shaw Jr. After accepting the award for his portrayal of the Marvel superhero, Boseman took the stage to do his thank-yous. He spoke to the cultural impact of Black Panther and the overwhelmingly positive fan reaction. Then he pivoted and used his platform to honour Shaw.
“Receiving an award for playing a superhero is amazing,” he said, “But it’s even greater to acknowledge the heroes that we have in real life. So, I just want to acknowledge somebody who’s here today. James Shaw Jr. Where are you? Stand.”
A visibly surprised Shaw stood while Boseman praised him for his heroism at a Waffle House in April when he tackled a gunman who had already killed four people.
“If you don’t know James Shaw Jr., he fought off a gunman in Antioch, Tennessee at a Waffle House,” Boseman told the audience, “He saved lives.” The actor then beckoned Shaw onto the stage and presented him with the Best Hero award.
“This is going to live at your house,” he told Shaw. Shaw was then met with a standing ovation from the crowd.
Shaw sustained a bullet injury and burns on his hands from the Waffle House incident but his actions led to the apprehension of a man who likely would have gone on to injure and possibly kill dozens more people. After the shooting, Shaw also set up a GoFundMe page to support victims and their families. At the time, he told the public he was no hero. Everyone politely disagreed.
After the show, Shaw posed for photos with Boseman, even breaking out the “Wakanda Forever” salute. Boseman also tweeted his appreciation for Shaw and called him “a true hero that walks among us.”
🍿🍿🍿 and more 🍿… THANK YOU #MTVAwards! #BlackPanther fans, you’re incredible. During the show, I was honored to meet @JamesShawJr9. He saved countless lives by tackling a gunman who opened fire on people in Antioch, Tennessee in April. He’s a true hero that walks among us. pic.twitter.com/bIF8vOk3v3
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) June 19, 2018
Black Panther took home three more popcorn statues on the weekend in addition to Boseman/Shaw’s Hero award. Boseman also won Best Performance in a Movie, Michael B. Jordan won Best Villain for his portrayal of Erik Killmonger and the entire cast and crew was honoured with the award for Best Movie.