Photo Courtesy of NDTV
Story by Brandon Black/Lifestyles Editor
Chadwick Boseman, the performer who practically reincarnated Jackie Robinson and James Brown onscreen in “42” and “Get on Up,” and solidified Black Panther as an icon in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest heroes, has died of cancer at age 43.
Boseman’s official Twitter account released a statement revealing the actor dealt with colon cancer since 2016.
“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.”
When I scroll through social media and see #RIPInsert-name-here, two thoughts come into my head. The first is that it’s a joke, because for whatever reason people on Twitter think it’s hilarious to tweet about someone getting cancelled in the same way you’d talk about a dead person. The second is more real, and that’s the expectation that the person who died was old, someone who lived a full life until it ultimately became their time. It’s always sad, because losing someone special simply is. But it feels… normal, almost. They were old, it was going to happen sooner or later, right?
It didn’t feel that way this time.
The news hit me like a freight train. The man was 43 years old and at the top of his game. Heck, he didn’t look a day over 35. How could the world lose him so soon? And during a time when Black America is already suffering so deeply?
But the thing is, Chadwick Boseman did live a full life. He did action films that involve rigorous physical training while being treated for a debilitating illness. He intentionally pursued projects that told Black stories and opened so many viewers’ eyes to the Black experience, including mine, in new ways. He utilized the unspoken responsibility of his position to constantly inform, empathize and represent the under-represented. He lived completely in the four years since his diagnosis, with an on-camera vulnerability that never showed weakness, and a strength that never appeared prideful.
That’s about the most inspiring thing I’ve heard this year.
According to social media, Boseman’s life and story inspired many, including the youngest daughter of Martin Luther King Jr.
We never know what people are enduring. Humans…we are wonders.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) August 29, 2020
May you have a beautiful return, King. We will miss you so. pic.twitter.com/jdip3RHoXb
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) August 29, 2020
I keep thinking about my 3-year-old in his Black Panther costume. How he wore it almost every day when he got it, refused to take it off. The way he walked around saying “I’m the Black Panther.” How happy it made him. What Chadwick gave us was immeasurable. What an enormous loss.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) August 29, 2020
Fellow actor Josh Gad posted a text exchange between himself and Boseman, emphasizing that Boseman “knew how precious every moment was.”
Breaking my twitter silence to share some beauty. This was one of my final texts from the brilliant & once-in-lifetime talent, @chadwickboseman – take this in & celebrate life. He knew how precious every moment was. Tonight the Heavens received one of its most powerful angels. pic.twitter.com/Hj8Cb1IfZS
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) August 29, 2020
“We should take advantage of every moment we can to enjoy the simplicity of God’s creation, whether it be clear skies and sun or clouded over with gloom.”
Rest in peace, and rest in power, Mr. Boseman.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Brandon Black, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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