This year continues to take us by surprise with terrible, awful news. In January, we heard of wildfires in Australia that refused to be quenched; February, it was the demise of the legendary Kobe Bryant. From March, even until now, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to ravage the world. Just yesterday, the 28th of August, it was revealed that the Black Panther star passed away.
To shed some light on a person who was undoubtedly a favourite star, Chadwick Aaron Boseman was born on the 29th of November 1976, to Carolyn and Leroy Boseman—both African-American. It would be interesting to note that DNA testing has revealed that his ancestors were the Krio and Limba people from Sierra Leone, and the Yoruba people from Nigeria (yes, Yoruba!).
In addition, Boseman was raised a Christian, and was baptized as well. He was part of the church choir and youth group; and his former pastor had reasons to believe he had kept his faith. Curiously, he was a vegetarian.
He wrote his first play in junior school, at Hanna High, and felt compelled to stage it after a classmate was shot and killed. Then, he proceeded to Howard University in Washington D.C., and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. According to him, he had always wanted to direct.
He got his first television role in 2003, in an episode of Third Watch. After ten years of dramas and operas, he had his first starring role in 42, where he played baseball pioneer and star, Jackie Robinson. At the time, he was directing a play in East Village (and was seriously considering giving up acting) when he was auditioned for the role.
Among 25 others, the director, Brian Helgeland, eventually picked him because he “liked his (Boseman’s) bravery”. In 2014, he starred James Brown, the godfather of soul, in Get on Up. According to him, it was “a huge challenge”, but also “a very intense and rewarding experience.”
Next, he appeared as Thoth, god of wisdom, in the movie Gods of Egypt, and then in the revenge thriller Message from the King which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
In 2016, Boseman joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe with his debut in the Captain America: Civil War blockbuster. He played T’Challa, the King of the African country of Wakanda, who later went on to become the superhero Black Panther.
In 2018, Black Panther became the 12th highest grossing movie of all time, and the highest grossing movie of all time directed by a black director (Ryan Coogler). In fact, Black Panther broke the record as Marvel’s first Black superhero.
Additionally, the movie was heralded for being one of the first mainstream, big budget superhero films to have a majority black cast. Boseman was set to release Black Panther 2 in 2022. It’s unfortunate that we won’t be seeing him on any more new screens.
“It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman”, the statement reads. Noting that he died with his wife and family by his side, it continued,
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you’ve come to love so much. From Marshall, to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and several more, all were filmed during countless surgeries and chemotherapy”.
After a four-year battle, Chadwick Boseman, our Black Panther hero, dies of cancer. His memory will continue to live on as one who endured hardships so he could bring out the best, for himself, and for the whole world. Rest in peace, Chadwick Boseman, you’ve lived a heroic life.