The Legacy of Chadwick Boseman

Fans across the world were devastated with the loss of the actor Chadwick Boseman on the night of August 28th. A statement released on his Twitter from his spokesperson confirmed the passing of the 43-year-old actor after a four-year long battle with colon cancer. Boseman was known for his role as T’Challa Udaku in the Marvel movie Black Panther; playing Jackie Robinson, the first African-American in the Major League Baseball, in 42; and Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court justice, in Marshall

Boseman kept his battle with colon cancer a secret from the public and the movie industry. His Twitter statement revealed that he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and continued silently battling it until it progressed to stage IV. He was able to film eight movies since being diagnosed in 2016. According to an NBC article, no one knew about his illness except his immediate family and vowed to keep it private. His producer and former cast mates even stated that they did not know he had cancer. 

“The passing of Chadwick Boseman affected many young black kids across the world,” senior Yadhira Parra said. “He was the first black superhero to be shown in a mainstream movie. Many young black children were finally able to look up to someone with the same color of their skin. He was an inspiration to everyone.”

In a BuzzFeed article, it highlights the importance of Black Panther. The film was able to depict Black lives and culture that was not stereotypical or being used in a harmful way. It won and was nominated for numerous awards, including three Oscars–which was the first Academy Awards for Marvel Studios ever. Before the movie was released, there was never a Black superhero that was the main character; they always played side characters. 

Chadwick Boseman as well devoted his life to playing famous African-American men who changed the world. In addition to playing Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall, he also played James Brown, a singer and songwriter that was nicknamed the “Godfather of Soul,” in the biopic Get On Up.

In a year filled with immense grief, Boseman’s death hurt more after already losing Kobe Bryant in January and U.S. Representative John Lewis. These prominent figures held the much needed strength and representation that we all need so desperately at this time.