The news of Chadwick Boseman passing away last night shocked the entire world. Even on social media as everyone shared their memories about him and how he has impacted their lives. This ranged from actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, athletes, professional wrestlers, musicians, and even comedians. The way Chadwick has brought together so many lives in different forms of the entertainment industry and fans worldwide, can never be taken away or forgotten as his performances and roles in films such as 42, Get On Up, and Black Panther has done exactly that.
This news really hits home for me because I loved him as an actor when he is on screen, and as a person outside of when he is playing a character. Chadwick Boseman will be missed and I would like to give my tribute to this iconic actor.
My first exposure of Chadwick Boseman was on the film 42. Me, my brother, and my dad watched it at my father’s house on Father’s Day and we were really impressed on his portrayal of Jackie Robinson. We also talked about Jackie Robinson because my father told us stories of our grandfather going to the games that he played at that time.
42 is a powerful film and I also recommend everyone to watch it because of Chadwick’s performance and to see a story of what was it like in the MLB for Africian Americans at the time.
Chadwick has also played as James Brown on Get On Up and when I seen that film at the time, I thought to myself of the many possibilities of Chadwick portraying influential Africian American entertainers, politicans, and athletes from black history that can bring more awareness in the mainstream level. I always felt like black cinema never gets the attention that is deserved and it was very frustrating to have those feelings for the longest time. By the time that Black Panther was announced to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a change was coming.
Chadwick Boseman made his debut as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe on Captain America: Civil War. I can also personally say that it is my favorite film in the MCU and I was excited to see that he was going to portray Black Panther. Chadwick was the right person for it and the world wanted a Black Panther film and we would finally get it over a year and a half later.
The atmosphere was different for this film since Black Panther is the first black superhero and the character was created during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. I remember when I seen it in the theater, there were many people dressed up as Black Panther.
But what caught my eye, was the attendees dressed up in African fabrics, or clothing that was part of the Black Panther Party and the Black Lives Matter movement. This was an unique experience I witnessed and everyone in the theater cheered for the attendees that had that clothing on.
This also meant that this was more than just a superhero movie, but it is a cultural statement that needed to be out in the open. The fact that this is a superhero film with a strong black cast and that there were online groups trying to review bomb this film made me upset. But that did not stop the majority of reviewers to praise the film’s acting, story, VFX, music, and cast as it is universally loved.
When I seen Black Panther in the theater, I noticed the smiles and the cheering from the younger audience from different backgrounds for the majority of the film including the climax battle between Black Panther and Killmonger. That is what mattered the most in my eyes as younger fans who view this movie, have a black superhero to believe in, and to look up to. Also to note, the amount of charaites and celebrities that paid for a lot of tickets for black children and teenagers to see the film is heartwarming. That has never been done for a film with an entire black cast to this degree before Black Panther and since then, it has happen in various genres of black cinema.
I know that the majority of fans of the MCU will say that there are other characters to look up to, but it is entirely different with Black Panther as he is relatable to the black culture. Years from now, those same children and teenagers will tell the story of that day and how it impacted them. They are not going to care about what the critics said, or who is the better super hero. They will talk about the day that they have went to the movies to see a black superhero film and how much it meant to them, and how much it meant to their family that took them to see it. The opening weekend of Black Panther will be remembered as a cultural event and I am happy that I got to witness it all.
Personal note too, My mother recently watched Black Panther for the first time and she has never seen a superhero film before. She loved it because of what the film represented and how much the black actors meant to her. And my grandmother, Doreatha Brown Rahming passed away in early 2020 due to her cancer coming back.
And she did not tell anyone until a few days before her passing. I could understand why she did not want to to tell anyone at the time and I understand and respect why Chadwick did not want the public to know since he would be getting messages and calls every day about it in my opinion as the media would only focus on his appearence over his work if he told the world that he was battling colon cancer a few years ago.
Chadwick Boesman also acted in these films while he had colon cancer and nobody knew it at the time. That right there takes a huge amount of strength and determination and heart when you think about this. Chadwick has also been involved in a huge amount of charities around the wolrd since Black Panther as he touched the hearts of many children who are sick, and the many that wanted to meet him too at the convention scene. Chadwick Boesman will never be forgotten and his work in the industry has cemented a legacy in film and in black cinema.
I also want to add that I seen this minutes after the news broke about recasting for Black Panther 2. That should not be on anyone’s mind right now. Everyone needs to grieve and mourn Chadwick and have those discussions when the time is right.
Rest in Power Chadwick Boesman! Gone but never forgotten.