Updated: Nov 21, 2020
By Mana Ravenel and Natasha Santana
Image retrieved from newyorktimes.com
Chadwick Aaron Boseman, born on November 29th 1976 in Anderson, South Carolina, was a son to Leroy Boseman and Carolyn Boseman, an upholstery business manager and reputable nurse, respectively. He was a brother to Derrick and Kevin. He was an alumni at Howard University, with a bachelors in fine arts directing who furthered his education across the pond in the British American Drama Academy at Oxford, England. But above all, he was a modern-day legend in the Black community that the world had never seen before.
From stage presence in Romeo and Juliet and Willie’s cut and shine, to on-screen movie star presence with Black Panther, 21 bridges, and the role of Jackie Robinson, Boseman’s immense love for his craft was felt across the globe, as he cites as an “opportunity of a lifetime to just do what I love.”
Calling Chadwick Boseman an average joe actor is offensive in all counts from professionalism to morality because Boseman brought hope to the screen. To Aharoun-Jordan Adeniyan, Chadwick was an actual hero. The screen-writer had to say, "I remember him visiting children who were terminal with cancer. It's haunting to think how much he was going through and still thinking about other people. That nature of serving others is something I will take on even more." Not just an actor, but a man filled with compassion and love for the people around him. Chadwicks fight for not just his life, but for his work is the tremendous mark he left on the world. Now, let's embrace and learn about the marks he left.
While scrolling on Twitter, my jaw-dropped as I encountered a shocking tweet: Chadwick Boseman has died of cancer, his representative confirmed. He was 43.
At first, I thought it was some sort of twisted joke, as I sat staring straight at my phone, unable to comprehend the rollercoaster of emotions I was experiencing. It was completely unexpected; I had just seen him on my timeline a week before, how could he have died? And of colon cancer? For the first hour, I was completely numb. I attempted to comfort my friends who were in distress whilst not understanding my own feelings. It wasn’t until I had watched a video of a young black boy crying his heart out, surrounded by his Black Panther figurines, that I had broken out into tears.
Chadwick Boseman is more than the characters he brought to life on the big screen. He is more than his role as T’Challa in Black Panther, Jackie Robinson in 42, or Thurgood Marshall in the film, Marshall. He was a beacon of light to the black community, someone we all looked up to and felt empowered by. He gave our black youth their first main superhero in Black Panther, telling them that people who looked the same way they did had the potential to be someone so inspiring, strong, and great. Black Panther respected and truly celebrated African culture, and Chadwick Boseman would not allow for any stereotypes to be present in the film. His work has, and will continue, to inspire the black community—especially the youth. Because of him, the younger generations have their own black hero to look up to, dress up as, and idolize.
Even when fighting his own battle with cancer, Chadwick Boseman spent time with children who had cancer, hoping to brighten their days and bring happiness to them. He took on roles in films that continue to inspire the black community. Whilst fighting for his life against a horrible illness, he made it his mission to bring light and joy to the life of others. Although he may not have physical superpowers, there is no denying that he truly is a superhero. Courageous, strong, and inspirational. Although he may have passed, his name, his work, and his legacy will continue to live on. His strength of character, kindness, and humility will never be forgotten, nor will the impact he has had be. Chadwick Boseman will forever be remembered in the hearts of those he has touched, especially to the black people of whom he brought hope, inspiration, and joy to.
Written by writers Mana Ravenel and Natasha Santana