“Wakanda Forever,” the celebrated phrase which has become well known in households all over the world, will be commemorated even more in respect to Chadwick Boseman – who recently passed away from his battle with colon cancer.
The abrupt news of his death brought despair and grief to his fans all across the world, including myself. When I first heard of Boseman’s death, I didn’t fully believe the news because it’s not unheard of for false deaths or poor reporting by tabloids to pop up in social media feeds, but soon enough there was confirmation of his death and I felt as if a piece of myself died with Boseman as well.
Being a fan of his films and an avid observer of the roles he played, not only engaged me into his work but left a unique impact that most actors fail to make. For me, his prowess and ability to reenact different people who have paved the way for Black history, illustrated his constant appreciation for important figures who’ve made it possible for himself as well as the Black community to thrive and be proud of the progression African Americans have accomplished.
After analyzing Boseman’s roles of Jackie Robinson in the film 42 and Thurgood Marshall in the film Marshall, I was enamored by the leadership that he was effectively able to embody through these historical giants. While watching the films, every moment felt defining for Boseman to not only portray people in the best light, but to also exemplify his own drive and determination to leave his mark in the world and have a monumental impact in this lifetime. In a way, the roles he played were building a blueprint for the leader he would eventually reveal himself to be.
Although Boseman’s life was shortened by cancer, it’s interesting he never informed the audience of his illness. Usually, when celebrities are hampered by certain conditions, the media is the first to divulge personal information. However, I understand why Boseman kept his condition discreet. His humility and ability to remain humble spoke volumes. His intent wasn’t to self-pity, but to utilize it and strengthen himself. Throughout his career, I would have never suspected that he had an underlying chronic illness – nobody could have.
It’s fascinating to observe how strong he was through his battle with cancer and how determined he was to keep producing films that would leave a powerful legacy for decades after he’s gone. As I said earlier, Boseman was a living testament of all the qualities that the roles he enacted embodied. You could feel the unparalleled emotion and confidence he displayed on the screen in every film. In the context of art, Boseman’s work conveyed crucial dialogue to his audience, speaking out on the importance of good character, dedication and fulfillment of one’s ambitions.
His contribution to the blockbuster Marvel Film Black Panther not only introduced a new superhero to the marvel world, but it also characterized Boseman as his own superhero. Many children looked up to Boseman as a spark of hope because he became a popular superhero on screen and his real-life work ethic symbolized the mission of a superhero: to promote the common good of all people. To me, Boseman was able to achieve this because in spite of being diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2016, he persevered and fought this battle and came out victorious. When I say he came out victorious, he brought inspiration to the world and inspired not only the Black community, but also future actors and actresses that strive to be in the space that he embraced during his time on Earth. I believe our mission now is to continue his legacy by inspiring others to live a life worth living and be superheroes in our own right. Chadwick Boseman will be missed forever.
Isaiah Underwood is a senior studying creative writing at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk to Isaiah? Email him firstname.lastname@example.org.