A wave of sadness spread over the world on Saturday after it was announced that Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played king T'challa in the iconic 'Black Panther' movie and 'Avengers' movie series, passed away at the age of 43, after a 4 year battle with colon cancer.
Chadwick made it a point not to make his battle public knowledge. The realisation that, with every acting role, every interview and every press conference, he was doing his job while dealing with great pain and without complaint, only magnified the depth of the loss.
To many, his death is just that of a celebrity and actor who seemed like a nice guy, but to the black community worldwide he signified so much more. 'Black Panther' was the first movie since 'Coming to America' that put Africa (Wakanda is not a real country but it displayed African culture) on the big screen without the theme of slavery or poverty; the movie gave black children the pride, hope and representation that was missing in entertainment. The beauty and diversity in which Africa was displayed in 'Black Panther' is second to none and Chadwick Boseman as T'challa did an amazing job at bringing royalty, honour and dignity to the role.
It is very clear what Chadwick Boseman stood for as a man, unapologetic blackness. From his time at an HBCU (Howard University), to his decision to portray iconic black characters (Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall) and his powerful, inspirational speeches, there is no confusing the legacy of black pride and excellence he planned to leave behind. His life and death is an example to those who are still here, and what a great example it is - purpose.
Upon getting his diagnosis Chadwick could have chosen to spend every moment he had with his loved ones but instead he chose the laborious route of long travels, gruelling stunt sessions, countless press runs and endless hours of filming all while undergoing cancer treatment, just so he could be the change he wanted to see in the world. The actions of a true king and hero.
Chadwick has left behind an amazing legacy and I am incredibly grateful to him for it. I pray that his family find some comfort in seeing the impact he had on so many and that Chadwick is able to rest knowing he fulfilled his purpose.