Chadwick Boseman: 1976-2020
An obituary to the man who lived his life to the fullest, on-screen and off.
By Amy Smith
“In my culture, death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping off point. You reach out with both hands and Bast and Sekhmet, they lead you into a green veld where you can run forever.” – King T’Challa, Captain America: Civil War
On the 28th of August 2020, the heart-breaking news was announced that Chadwick Boseman passed away after a long battle with colon cancer. Fighting his battle away from the public eye, this was a shock to audiences who grew to fall in love with every character he played.
There will be many pieces written about him and his filmography. Whether it is the historic characters he played from Jackie Robinson in 42 to James Brown in Get on It, he managed to bring them back to life with his presence. There is also so much that you can say about his impact in the comic-book industry, being the first black title character in the MCU and giving representation to the black community, something that is still rare to see in big-budget Hollywood movies.
Instead of talking about his filmography though, I want to honour the person that he was behind the camera. No matter what he was doing, you would always see him with the biggest smile on his face. He lived life to the fullest, and pushed through a lot more than any of us could imagine. His filmography is impressive enough, but the level of passion for his craft becomes even more apparent with the announcement of his diagnosis. He suffered through stage three colon cancer for four years, after being diagnosed in 2016. During that time, he appeared in ten films. Ten films in a span of four years is impressive for any actor, but more so when that time is also being spent in surgery and receiving treatment for something so horrific.
He didn’t just stop with being on set and making films, he always made time to put in the extra work off screen. With the impact that his role as Black Panther had for many fans, he made time to give back to them and show that he recognised their passion. He would go on an awards campaign for Black Panther, attend conventions, take part in film promotion such as press junkets and TV interviews, spend time with Make-a-Wish patients. Alongside being an incredible actor and personality, he was a good person first and foremost.
The world lost a great actor yesterday, someone with the talent and drive to produce more incredible work like what he already gave us. Most importantly though, the world lost a good person with an incredible heart. He put the most effort he could into every project in front of and behind the screen and made a difference with his voice. He may have played a superhero, but he was one in real life.
Rest in power, King.
Photo credit: @chadwickboseman on Twitter