A tribute to a king

Chadwick Boseman Tribute
Graphic by Cate Roser ’21/Staff

While I relaxed in my room on the evening of August 28, I received a startling text from a close friend. It was an article with the headline “Chadwick Boseman Dead at 43 From Colon Cancer.” I was in absolute shock, and I immediately checked other sources for confirmation. It felt like a nightmare, and I was just waiting to wake up.

The loss of the iconic African American actor was devastating. Boseman had been fighting colon cancer since 2016, but that did not stop him from doing what he did best.

Over the years, Boseman had persevered to accomplish his goals. He graduated from T. L. Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina in 1995. Soon after, he enrolled in Howard University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. He returned to Howard in 2018 to give a commencement speech, and earned an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. After he graduated from Howard in 2000, he attended the British American Drama Academy at Oxford, which led him to his career in acting.

Boseman went on to do stunning performances and portray groundbreaking roles in the film industry. Year after year, we have seen him in films such as 42, 21 Bridges, and so many more. By far his most influential film and role was in the 2018 film Black Panther. The cinematic perfection that it was had a huge impact on everyone, but it especially impacted people of color, like me. We finally got to see someone that looked like us starring as a superhero on the big screen. This movie brought joy, happiness, and laughs to families of all races, but that joy was even greater for families like mine. I could not believe it when I heard that Boseman was going to be the star in Black Panther. I saw the movie countless times in the theater with my family and it never got old.

I will never forget how touched I was the first time I saw the credits roll by. I still have never seen a movie that has impacted me as much as Black Panther did. The production, the scenery, and the actors were all extraordinary. Boseman did something that many people of color did not expect but have always wanted. My family and I were changed by his work. Boseman once said, “To be young, gifted and Black. We all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured[…] We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. That is what we went to work with every day because we knew[…] that we had something special that we wanted to give the world[…] That we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.”

People of color strive every day to make their dreams possible. There are challenges on the way, but they are achievable. Boseman demonstrated this throughout his lifetime, proving to us that we can too. Boseman undoubtedly left his mark on this world. He left us with unforgettable films and we will forever let his legacy live on.