Chadwick Boseman – Another Black Hero Lost

A lot of people across the world, young and old, were saddened by the sudden death of Chadwick Boseman. His life was short – he died aged 43 – yet he left having made huge impact. He lived a purposeful and accomplished life. His movies and approach to life resonated with me a lot. Let me share a few of them below: 

1. His major movies saw him replay and depict real life black heroes like Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall; 

2. His role as The Black Panther was a major lift for the black community all over the world, and gave Africa a new lease of hope in world relations; 

3. Even though he was battling cancer, he still continued his role in humanity; 

4. His attitude and work showed he believed in a different and better representation of the black community, and he continued to work for that; 

5. He was very humble. This side of him was quite glaring when he, remarkably, gave out his MTV award for Best Hero to James Shaw Jr., a young black man who risked his own life to disarm a gunman in Tennessee, saving many people in the process; 

6. He was very inspirational, particularly for the younger generation, sharing many times in his speeches why they ought to believe they can achieve greatness. 

From his life, I have learnt the following: 

Selflessness – Chadwick was constantly encouraging and touching the lives of others, despite health issues that the public had no inkling he was battling. 

Endurance – In four years of living with cancer, he still produced some major works, giving us his best in his final years. The following movies were released during that four-year period: 

a. Black Panther 

b. 42 

c. 21 Bridges 

d. Captain America – Civil War 

e. Avengers: Infinity War 

f. Avengers: End Game 

Purpose – Chadwick lived a purposeful life, and constantly encouraged people to do the same. His “Finding your purpose” speech in 2018 to the graduating class of Howard University is a major source of inspiration to all. 

Great Impact – Truly, it is not how long you live that matters but how well you lived. He lived an impactful life, particularly in his inspirational role as the king of the fictional Wakanda state in Africa. He embodied the image of a humanitarian leader, concerned, not only for his people, but for the peace of the world. 

Determination – I am now more impressed with the fact that he was battling cancer whilst filming Black Panther. All the physical scenes and the general stress of filming could only be done with his determination to finish strong. 

Gratitude – Denzel Washington paved the way for Chadwick Boseman and other actors by paying their tuition to study at the British American Drama Academy. Boseman was still at Howard University then and was unable to pay his tuition. Washington had been asked by famed actress Phylicia Rashad to do this favour while she taught Boseman at Howard. 

Later, paying tribute to the iconic Denzel as the latter received the AFI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, he said “An offering from a king and a sage is more than silver or gold… There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.” Denzel described Chadwick as a “gentle soul, and a brilliant artist who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short yet illustrious career.” 

Faith in God – He lived life trusting God, and never hid his faith. He fought his battle trusting God, and did not seek public sympathy, even when he was hugely cyber-bullied as he began to show signs of increased weight loss. He held on to his faith and lived his life graciously, in peace and quiet. 

Long live Chadwick Boseman! 

Wakanda forever!

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