In a year of what has already felt like immeasurable loss, the world took yet another painful blow with the loss of a true King, Chadwick Boseman.
Chadwick’s passing, which came at the early age of 43, felt like it came at a time where his career was only just starting to take off, and he was taking on a number of iconic roles that made a huge impact.
As many Black writers and celebrities have noted, the loss of Chadwick is especially painful at a time where “in an already difficult year filled with so much Black death, losing an actor who celebrated Black life feels especially painful.”
Seeing T’Challa on the big screen as a hero in Black Panther was inspirational for many, but particularly for Black folks to see the representation of themselves as the main character, a hero, who even carried himself with regal grace off screen.
A representative for Boseman announced his passing on Friday, after a four-year battle with Stage 4 colon cancer.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” the statement said. “From ‘Marshall’ to ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.”
He starred in countless movies while fighting a secret battle, and shared his gift with the world in the limited time he had on this earth, making sure his legacy will continue to live on after touching the hearts of everyone who had the pleasure to watch him.
The diversity of the roles he was able to play, along with the person he was -- even being a private person off screen -- emanated through his energy even through the TV or film screen, solidifying him as a star that will shine bright even beyond his years.
Many Black writers have written through their grief to share incredible stories of what Boseman’s life and career meant and will continue to mean, including this piece in GQ, or this one in the New York Times.
Young Black children got the chance to see a hero who looked like them on screen, and with Black Panther being the first major superhero movie with an African protagonist and a majority Black cast, it was a monumental step for representation, and an important role filled by an important man.
A petition has also been started to have a statue of Boseman replace a Confederate statue in his hometown, but something tells us even without a statue, Chadwick will undoubtedly be remembered across generations.
Rest in Power, King.