Chadwick Boseman


Mary-Edith Cox, Social Media Chair

On August 28, Chadwick Boseman passed away in his home surrounded by his family. The actor, director, and producer had been secretly battling colon cancer since 2016. He was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer, and battled with it for these last four year as it progressed to stage IV. 


He was known for playing these historical roles: Jackie Robinson in “42” (2013), Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall” (2017), and James Brown in “Get on Up” (2014). However, the role he is most known for is King T’Challa in “Black Panther” (2018). He played T’Challa in more than one Marvel film during his illness, and now knowing that he was sick, it is almost incomprehensible the physicality of that role alone. He is someone we all wish to be: humble, persevering, passionate, and loving. 


Boseman kept his diagnosis private, focusing on work and shining a light on others. It came as a shock when the public found out about his disease. I remember seeing that Boseman has passed and texting my sister “Wow, I had no idea that he was dealing with this.” He visited young cancer patients in the hospital, despite battling his own disease. Boseman realized the intense pressure he was going to face by taking upon the role of T’Challa. The Black Panther was Marvel’s first black superhero, and he knew that he had to portray this character as a role model for the black community. He advocated for T’Challa to be played with an African accent for that exact reason. In an interview Boseman said, “I knew that an African accent could carry all the passion in the English language just as well as a British one could, if not better.” 


Throughout my research for this article, the main word I saw that described Boseman’s nature repeatedly was loving. Spike Lee, director of the Netflix film “Da 5 Bloods” that Boseman starred in, remembered Boseman in an Instagram post captioned with “God is Love. Love is Chadwick.” Clearly, Boseman loved his work and the people who are closest to him. Love is why we grieve so intensely for a star who burned for such a short time, but nonetheless was the brightest. 


Everything about Boseman seems to come back to him being a man of service via his grace and his talents. So as Angela Bassett, the actress who played his mother in “Black Panther,” wrote in her tribute to Boseman, I choose to believe “thou aren’t not dead but flown afar,” Mr. Boseman. We appreciate all you left us with before you took that trip.