On the 28th August 2020 Chadwick Boseman passed away from a 4 year long battle with colon cancer.
I’ve started off with that fact because everytime I hear it or think about it, it blows my mind.
It blows my mind because, Chadwick kept it a secret from the public and even his work colleagues. He was diagnosed in 2016 but still went on to continue to make films, be a philanthropist even throughout his silent battle.
Some of his most prolific roles were done during this time. Most notably Thurgood Marshall and of course Black Panther.
Black Panther ushered in historical sales for the Marvel Universe being the first film with an all black cast in a superhero movie.
Chadwick’s role as T’challa was iconic for so many reasons. For me it put Africa on the mainstream map; people were able to see the beauty that is Africa and African culture, in all it’s glory. But another reason was the representation he brought to the forefront for black people and how he was able to portray this hero with such professionalism, talent and grace.
Chadwick is a LEGEND and his legacy will continue to live on. To be able to continue to work, give us films, portray different characters, and be and advocate for children and young people who were suffering from terminal illness while going through the same thing himself, shows a kind of strength that not all humans possess.
He is a real life hero! It has made me think about how strong we can be as human beings, and the lengths we can go to, to make an impact in this world.
I’m sure, like me, people will be assessing and looking back on various moments in their lives where we could have made a difference or where we could have done a little more to help someone.
This isn’t a game of comparison though – just because someone else has done something meaningful, doesn’t mean we can’t or haven’t. For me it’s about reflection; if someone can go through life still doing what they love and helping others, despite their own personal battles and struggles, then I am able to do the same to be an example for others and the people around me.
I was having a discussion with my brother on the day that the news broke of Chadwick’s death and he was saying that he should have told someone … my question to him was: if he told someone do you think things would have gone the same way?
I think the whole narrative would have changed around the roles he played within the 4 year struggle. Maybe he didn’t want people to treat him differently because of his own illness. There’s a way peole treat you when they know something is wrong sometimes, they’ll treat you will pity or like you’re broken. Maybe if that was the case he wouldn’t have gotten the roles he was able to play. But I guess we will never know.
Now, the roles he played within the 4 years of his diagnosis have more poignancy. With a new lense we realise that he most have been in pain while filming and taking on such iconic roles. But it didn’t let it stop him from doing what he was made to do.
There’s a lesson here: regardless of what we are going through we can be the examples and still make an impact and be heroes throughout any private struggles and pain.
Chadwick Boseman did what he loved in acting and advocacy. He left a legacy and lasting mark on the world. We can do the same…
Rest in Peace Chadwick Boseman.