Just as we thought this year couldn’t get any worse, on August 28th, 2020 we lost a talented soul. Chadwick Boseman was not only a hero both on and off the screen, he was a role model for everyone around him. After losing his fight with stage 3 colon cancer, Boseman’s death went trending on Twitter with almost 6 million likes in just under 24 hours. A variety of celebrities showed their appreciation and love for him including, democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden who expressed how “the true power of Chadwick Boseman was bigger than anything we saw on screen.”
Boseman’s acting career began with his recurring role as Reggie Porter in the television series All My Children. He then rose to fame playing some of black history’s most important figures including Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017), and James Brown in Get on Up (2014). Boseman once shared in an interview with ABC News how he “certainly wouldn’t be here if it were not for those men.” He later mentions how everything that they’ve done in their lifetime opened the door for a better life. One of Chadwick Boseman’s most recognized roles in the film industry was T’Challa or Black Panther.
Black Panther follows the plot of T’Challa, who was crowned king of Wakanda after his father died. Throughout the film he battles Killimonger, who tries to overthrow the country’s policies and rule all known land. The role of Black Panther sparked an awareness of the vibrancy, communalism, and strength within the African and African-American community. Being that this character was such a monumental moment for our culture in film, of course the actor taking on the role had to coincide with it and Boseman fulfilled that role favorably.
From 2018 to 2019, Black Panther received over 60 nominations for a collection of various film and music accolades and won the majority of them. Chadwick Boseman’s response to the awards and nominations are what continues to amaze us to this day. Effortlessly, he gives a message of hope and faith for our community as a whole to continue to strive for change in this world.
At the 2019 SAG Awards, Boseman shared with the world that “to be young, gifted, and black…we know what it’s like to be told that there’s not a screen for you to be featured on.” While targeting the feeling that many talented black creators have experienced at some point in their career, he shares how that cast of Black Panther knew that they had something special that they wanted the world to see.
Delivering the commencement speech at his alma mater in 2018, Howard University, Chadwick Boseman urged the graduates to stay focused on their goal and not to forget that “the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.” He challenges the graduates to “look down over what they’ve conquered and appreciate what God has brought you through.” Also informing them to not let anyone water down their greatness or achievements because that’s one of many things that sets them apart from the person next to them.
This world may have lost a diligent, effortlessly talented, and outstandingly charismatic soul; however, his legacy and love for others will forever be within us.