Entertainment | August 29th, 2020
‘Wakanda Forever’: The Nation Mourns the Loss of Chadwick Boseman
By: Kailyn Rhone
Millions of Black children, adults and even elders worldwide assembled en masse to watch the first-ever African-American superhero, Black Panther, in theaters on Feb. 16, 2018. Now, those same people and more gather to grieve the death and reminisce the legacy of the 43-year-old actor Chadwick Boseman.
Late Friday night on Aug. 28, millions received the heart-breaking news of the Marvel actor’s passing from an Instagram and Twitter post by his family via his personal accounts. Silently battling colon cancer for four years, Boseman died in his home in Los Angeles, Calif., with his wife and family alongside.
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It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. Photo Credit: @samjonespictures
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” stated his family in the official release. “From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther.”
An influential and powerful figure on and off-screen, Boseman was silently fighting his own troubling battle while being a role model to many, especially in the black community. Boseman never publicly spoke about his diagnosis. He notoriously kept his personal life private as he also secretly married his wife, singer Taylor Simone Ledward, while he was fighting cancer.
Numerous shocked and disheartened celebrities, actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, and fans repost Boseman’s historically remarkable lifespan and send their sorrowful condolences to the family. Even Vice President candidate Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama shared a few words on social media.
“Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson,” said the former president on Instagram. “You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”
Many also reflect on the legacy Boseman left behind. The Howard University graduate had several small roles before his first notable and renowned role as the color-line breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson. In fact, Boseman passed the same day the Major League Baseball was commemorating Jackie Robinson.
From the role of Jackie Robinson, the South Carolina native advanced to memorializing the life of more prominent Black figures, such as James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and Stormin’ Norm, through film. Boseman played these last three culturally significant roles as he was diagnosed with cancer.
During the peak of his career, Boseman also revisited his alma mater and gave the school’s historic 150th commencement speech in 2018. Many remember him for the words he bestowed to the hundreds of graduates and their loved ones about finding purpose in their lives and not settling for merely a job.
“When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career,” Boseman told the starry-eyed crowd. “Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.”
Boseman added, “Many of you will leave Howard and enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalization. The fact that you have struggled with this university that you loved is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world that you are entering.”
Boseman gave this speech two years ago, inspiring graduates to find their mission in life now before it’s too late because the future is never promised. And as many people worldwide say the year 2020 has been full of the worst painful experiences in history, the Black community has been viewed as suffering the most during these troublesome times. Losing so many influential Black people to police brutality, terrific accidents, diseases, and much more during a global pandemic has been arduous for all within the community.
“I wanna hug Black America. As a collective we are sad. As a collective we are tired,” said Twitter user @cimajiebest in a tweet. “As a collective… as people who have bent, broken, lost, persevered, regained, & pushed… we are tired. Sending immense love & light to every single Black person near & far.”
From Kobe Bryant to many in between to now Boseman, it seems as the Black community is continuously taking significant losses.
As the nation continues to grasp with another loss, it is safe to say even in the midst of the unknown we will proudly proclaim “Wakanda Forever.”