When MTV gave Chadwick Boseman a 2018 Movie and TV Award, the Black Panther star promptly gave it to a real-life superhero. James Shaw Jr. had wrestled an assault rifle away from a gunman at the Tennessee Waffle House in April 2018.
Upon receiving the award, Boseman called Shaw on stage and handed him the golden popcorn statue. “This is going to live at your house,” Boseman said. The actor won the award for his role of T’Challa in the movie. The film, featuring a king and superhero in the nation of Wakanda, was the first Marvel movie to have a black lead.
In handing over the statue to Shaw, Boseman said it was more important to “acknowledge the heroes we have in real life.”
Shaw avoided ‘greater bloodshed’
Police said Shaw, a Nashville resident, rushed a gunman who had opened fire, killing four people at the restaurant in the middle of the night. After disarming the man, Shaw tossed the rifle over the counter, which potentially saved more lives. During the scuffle, Shaw suffered a graze wound on his elbow and a burned hand.
Officials later said there would have been “greater bloodshed” if Shaw had not intervened, The New York Times reported.
After the incident, Shaw said he was no hero, despite being honored by Nashville Mayor David Briley. The 29-year-old pounced on the gunman after deciding “he was going to have to work to kill me,” he said.
Shaw didn’t stop there
Shaw also went on to create a GoFundMe page to help the victims involved in the incident and their families. At press time, the page had raised more than $241,000. Its original fundraising goal was $15,000. Shaw also appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show where he said he hoped his story would inspire others.
“So the whole hero thing, I don’t have a problem with it,” he told DeGeneres. “It’s just that if you’re in that situation, I want you to know that a regular guy did it. And I want you to emulate the same thing and know you have that fire inside yourself.”
Shaw felt “overwhelmed” by the GoFundMe donations, he said in a statement. “To the thousands of people who have expressed their care, prayers and made financial donations, I can only respond by saying, ‘Thank you.’”
In turn, Yashar Ali started a GoFundMe page for Shaw and raised more than $223,000. “According to news reports, James has a four-year-old daughter,” Ali wrote. “Perhaps this money can be used for her college fund or some other education related expense. But I’d be just as happy if James used some of this money to take his family on a nice vacation.”
His alma mater honored him
After the incident, Shaw’s alma mater, Tennessee State University, recognized him at a ceremony and reception. The school also set up a scholarship in Mr. Shaw’s name.
“The TSU family is extremely proud,” said Glenda Glover, the school’s president. “James epitomizes the core values and mission of our institution.”
The MTV awards were handed out Saturday, June 16 and were broadcast the following Monday.
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