42 (2013), Get on Up (2014), Message from the King (2016), Black Panther (2018), 21 Bridges (2019) and all those unforgettable appearances in the Marvel movies, Chadwick Boseman upheld the strong African dignity in all these movies.The role of Black Panther was meant for him and he aced it with brilliance and grace. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer and battled with it while he persevered in those many, powerful roles that we hold dear to heart today.
A true fighter with a compelling screen presence, representing the power of Africans in Hollywood. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy,” said Boseman’s team on August 28.
His passion and love towards films was undeniably strong. Nothing stopped his growth. He never frowned to take on challenging roles or presented himself as a victim battling a dreadful disease. Boseman was honest to his art and his fans.
Boseman took an oath to play African icons in his movies. His bigger goal was to normalise the existence of black heroes within Hollywood. Back in 2013, when he was actively promoting the film, 42, where he played Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play major league baseball in the modern era. He took the liberty to openly call out how black actors don’t have the same opportunities as white actors.
In an interview he stated, “The best way to put it is: How often do you see a movie about a black hero who has a love story? … he has a spirituality. He has an intellect. It’s weird to say it, but it doesn’t happen that often.”
Coincidentally though, Boseman died on the day Major League Baseball was celebrating Robinson. As if the universe paid a powerful tribute to the essence of Boseman we will miss.
Though the world has known and cherished him as the Black Panther, Boseman was a writer, director and producer as well. In 2000, he graduated from the university with a BFA in directing and his first time during college with director and theatre professor, Mike Malone, Boseman had the most significant experience of his life. He worked in Ghana to preserve and celebrate rituals with performances on proscenium stage.
His first production accounts to the 2019’s action thriller, 21 Bridges, which he starred in. That marked a new milestone for Boseman. Such strong notion to achieve greatness, all while battling with his inner demons that was gradually eating him away. But his spirit persisted, after all in the wise words of King T’Challa;
“In my culture, death is not the end, it’s more of a stepping off point. You reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into a green veld, where..you can run forever.”
His private life and struggles remained hidden and what we saw was a strong man, that actively campaigned for the Black Lives Matter Movement. On June 20th, he posted a simple black-and-white picture with a consequential caption that preached to his followers that, “Understanding our history is one of many ways to break the cycle of racial injustice in this country. ”
Fighting through his mental stress and cancer itself, the world lost a powerful human being at 43. He was at the peak of his career, giving back-to-back performances that embodied African heritage. In August 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and ‘Black Panther’ director, Ryan Coogler announced ‘Black Panther 2’ would be released in May 2022. Coogler buried in grief mentioned to the ABC that, “I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see”.
Can fans cope with the loss of this genuine soul and picture another actor portray the traits and persona that T’Challa is? Time will tell, but the fact remains that a true king never dies!
No doubt that his legacy will live on forever. Boseman’s career span is precious and leaves an indelible mark within the hearts of millions. Black Panther will never be the same without his personality brushing the silver screen. Boseman’s followers are eagerly awaiting his film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom to appear on Netflix, starring alongside the gorgeous Viola Davis, Boseman’s screen presence will fill the audience’s heart with an incurable ache.
He was a powerful human being, a true fictional king who will remain in the hearts of all for eternity. And every time we think of him, it wouldn’t be dreading thoughts of sympathy rather a vigorous persona who taught us to preserve under any circumstance and constantly take pride in screaming, ‘Wakanda Forever!’
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