Throughout Boseman’s career, his passion met his purpose in his portrayals of Black heroes and legends. He showed the depth and complexities of the Black identity and the Black experience through his work. He used his on-screen portrayals as a vehicle to deliver stories of Black triumph and resilience. In a time when the need for positive Black imagery in mainstream outlets was brewing, Boseman used his gift to educate, empower, and change the negative rhetoric around the Black experience. His on-screen and off-screen efforts have impacted many. And the legacy he is leaving behind, is a pathway for the younger generations to come.
Chadwick Boseman was famous for playing many historical figures such as Jackie Robinson in “42” (2013), James Brown in “Get on Up” (2014), and Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” (2017). He joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe as their first leading Black superhero, Black Panther, and starred in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), “Black Panther” (2018), “Avenger: Infinity Way” (2018), and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019). He was going to star in the second “Black Panther” movie tentatively slated for May 2022.
His final role will be in the film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” that is set to air later this year. Wrestling with a past full of trauma, seducing Ma’s girlfriend, or doing monologues that culminate in Levee raging at God – The role will be a revelation for fans who familiarise with Boseman only as superhero T’Challa. This role will provide Boseman another opportunity to be assured of Oscar recognition. It’s his finest screen performance.
During his career, Boseman amplified Black voices; as a humanitarian, he selflessly gave to children who were fighting the same ruthless and encroaching disease that he was battling. To see his vision come to fruition, he worked tirelessly with discipline and dedication.
Boseman was part of Vanity Fair’s prestigious 2014 Hollywood cover. Which confirmed that the cinematic industry was paying attention to the Howard University grad who also graduated from the British American Drama Activity. Hollywood was toasting Boseman and people were listening to him so he used his voice to task on the things that make this industry problematic. How he gave part of his salary to increase Sienna Miller pay on ‘21 Bridges’ is the most astounding thing that usually never happens.
His portrayal of T’Challa in “Black Panther” was one that highlighted the most profound impact. Especially for Black people, going to see a Black superhero on-screen was more than just a typical going-to-movie-experience. Black people rolled out red carpets as they proudly strode into the theaters in traditional African clothing to celebrate its depiction of black heritage and the fictional kingdom of Wakanda.
In many ways, his career choices helped normalize African heritage and style in popular culture by truly celebrating it. All-in-all, it was a celebration of Blackness. Limiting stereotypes and traditions of a culture, Boseman has shown us that real superheroes are those who make a difference on-screen and off-screen. Especially, they do their real work to help people in dark, who could always use a dose of our most authentic light.
Chadwick Boseman inspired so many people without realizing the gravity of his impact. He told stories of resilience while trying to be resilient during his battle against colon cancer. Boseman’s loss is a great one because of what he stood for and represented. Writing this article will only scratch the surface of what this fine actor accomplished. Long before Black Panther, he played other notable Black heroes like Thurgood Marshall, James Brown, and Jackie Robinson. In his personal life, Chadwick was often acknowledged for his strength of character, perseverance, humility, and kindness. He continues to be a superhero despite his diagnosis and battling it privately. That is another reason why his death is so surreal to all of his fans. It is always devastating when the good die young.
With crossed arms in Wakandan fashion, we salute Chadwick Boseman and thank him for showing us that love, humility, and perseverance can make a huge difference. Not all heroes wear capes; they can be anyone standing tall with poise and grace in sun-kissed, black skin with a smile that lights up the universe.
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