Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Chadwick Boseman, our Superhero starring in the acclaimed movie Black Panther, will forever be missed by many. After battling with colon cancer for 4 years in secret from his peers and from the public, he died on Friday August 28th, 2020. He passed away on the same day as the 57th Anniversary of The March on Washington and the day Major League Baseball recognizes as Jackie Robinson Day. Chadwick endured numerous surgeries and chemotherapy treatments while working on so many different genre's of films. And he was all about justice for his people. But not only for justice for his people, he was.......for people. During his own fight for survival, he spent time visiting sick kids at places like St. Jude’s who were also in a fight for their life from cancer. There was an interview he did and he mentioned how before Wakanda came out there were 2 kids, Ian and Taylor who were anxious to get better to see the movie. But when he found out that they had passed away, he literally broke down, even on camera. He was brilliant, graceful, articulate, intelligent, handsome, loving, caring, giving, thoughtful, an activist.......he was special.
Years ago, Phylicia Rashad, one of Chadwick's teachers & mentors at Howard University found out that Boseman along with several other students got accepted into the British Academy of Dramatic Acting in Oxford, in the U.K., but couldn’t afford to go. So Rashad reached out to her good friend Denzel Washington. And after only like 5 minutes, he was moved to help out anyway he could! Even back when Boseman was in college, Rashad and Washington saw something in Boseman that would eventually lead to greatness. So Rashad told Chadwick and the other's to start packing their bags because they were headed to the U.K. And in honor of the gift he received from Denzel Washington, Chadwick recognized him publicly for that! He acknowledged Washington during a speech Boseman had given when Washington was selected to receive the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Below is a portion of the speech.
"As fate would have it, I was one of the students that he paid for," Boseman said "Imagine receiving the letter that your tuition for that summer was paid for and that your benefactor was none other than the dopest actor on the planet." Boseman also said that he knew his story was not the only one of its kind but "an offering from a sage and a king is more than silver and gold. It is a seed of hope, a bud of faith."
"There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington," Boseman said. "And not just because of me, but my whole cast -- that generation -- stands on your shoulders."
A lot of Boseman's peers, co-stars, and fans had beautiful words of Tribute for him, and below are just a few of them:
Oprah said, "The way he handled his life and managing cancer was such humility and grace and dignity, and lets us all know he was truly a super hero." "He'll be remembered, cherished and loved in our hearts, not just for what he was able to offer on films but what he was able to give as a human being," she added. "It's not just a loss we are feeling. We are going to feel his absence."
Michelle Obama said, "Chadwick's brilliance on screen was matched by a warmth and sincerity in person."
Whoopie Goldberg said, "He is Wakanda forever"!
Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler said, "I have to recognize the fact that Chad is an ancestor now and he knows he’ll watch over us until we meet again".
Boseman's Black Panther co-star Winston Duke said, "You were the last person I thought would leave us and could not leave us so soon. I just -- you were not just my friend, my hero, you were my superhero and my Black Panther."
LZ Granderson – ESPN Radio host said, "Somebody might roll their eyes and say dang it was just a movie, but like he said was Rocky just a movie, no it was inspiring". LZ even asked himself, "was Chad touched by God himself for him to work as hard as he did and effortlessly to some for all those years while dealing with colon cancer"?
James Brown's daughter Yama Brown, said “Chad was an amazing person! So focused, so accomplished and an amazing spirit". She added that "she will be forever indebted to him for how he worked aimlessly to embody her dad, making her dad story come to life on the screen, working 5 plus hours a day just in dance rehearsal alone". Boseman even did his own dancing. When it came to the “Groove” dance of James Brown, Boseman said, "once you get that down then the rest just falls into place".
Jackie Robinson's daughter, Sharon Robinson said, "She felt that Chadwick was accurate on her dad’s character, acting out all the frustrations and feelings that her dad really felt when playing in the League'.
Forest Whitaker, who played Zuri in Black Panther said, “He remembers Boseman being disciplined and focused”. Whitaker also mentioned how Boseman said “when he was crowned King during rehearsal, he felt like an energetic transformation, like something was happening much bigger than him”.
Chadwick Boseman played many roles especially during the 4 years of his cancer battle. During those 4 years, he starred in movies such as Marshall, Black Panther, Avengers, and Da 5 Bloods, to name a few. But Wakanda will live on forever! Black Panther was not just a predominantly black casted movie, but a Universal movie. It was not just a movie, it was Epic! It was a movement! It was the first superhero movie ever nominated for best picture Oscar, because among many things, it was so full of culture. It also impacted and moved every race with it’s brilliant storyline, magical scenes, and talented actors. Wakanda will always be forever. We got a Black Superhero y'all! People for generations to come will be showing this film to their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren to remind them that there can be black superhero’s.
But how do you feel about a part 2 of Black Panther? There are some who feels as if it will never live up to part 1. And there are others who feels like we should give part 2 a chance. I spoke to a friend earlier, who suggested that T'Challa's sister become the next Black Panther. And then I actually pictured having a black President, which we did, and then having a black female President running up for the next election. I think that storyline could work, and at the same time continue the legacy of the "Black Panther".
This leads me to the final tweet that Boseman made which was congratulating Senator Kamala Harris, VP Nominee with Biden. He also mentioned for everybody to get out there and exercise our right to vote. Don’t sleep on democracy but participate in it, find you a place in it!
R.I.H. Chadwick Boseman, our Forever Black Panther and King of Wakanda! Wakanda FOREVER!!!