Black Panther actor leaves legacy of Black excellence


Photo by Gage Skidmore on Wikimedia Commons

Actor Chadwick Boseman, who recently died of cancer at age 43, dominated the film industry and the red carpet of Hollywood

Destinee Taylor, Staff Writer

On Aug. 28, the world said goodbye to the king of Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman. 

The news of the actor’s death devastated millions of fans who were inspired by seeing him on screen. Boseman’s family did not reveal until after his death that he had been battling stage three colon cancer since 2016. 

During the four years between his diagnosis and his death, Boseman starred in several box-office hits such as 42, Black Panther and Get on Up. 

However, his most notable role portraying King T’Challa of Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther enforces the importance of representation in Hollywood. As the world mourned his untimely passing, fans shared what Boseman and his work meant to them on social media platforms, using #WakandaForever.

When Marvel introduced the Black Panther into the Cinematic Universe, Boseman became one of the few Black superheroes to be featured in the Avengers films, reigniting a conversation about the importance of diversity and representation of Black characters in film. 

Boseman became one of Hollywood’s largest symbols of Black excellence in the 2010s, portraying other Black historical figures. 

For his first major film, Boseman portrayed Jackie Robinson, the first Black Major League Baseball player, in the biopic 42 (2013). Following this role, Boseman played the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, in Get on Up (2014). 

The actor later starred in the film Marshall (2017). This film tells the story of Thurgood Marshall, a prominent civil rights lawyer and the United States’ first Black Supreme Court Justice. 

The Black Panther actor most recently starred in the 2020 film Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee. Boseman played the role of Stormin’ Norman, an African-American veteran of the Vietnam war who, along with his squad members, hides gold in a Vietnamese forest.

The nature of Boseman’s death also generates a conversation about the issue of disability discrimination. 

News of the actor actively filming movies for years while also secretly battling cancer shocked fans. Critics of Boseman joked about his appearance, which were revealed to be from his battle against colon cancer. The announcement of his diagnosis highlights the struggles that people with disabilities live with, often forced to suffer in silence and jeopardize their health in fear of being denied job opportunities.

Soon after Boseman’s death, a fan by the name of DeAndre Weaver started a petition for the city of Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman’s home town, to replace a monument of a Confederate soldier with a memorial of the actor. 

Weaver, a resident of Anderson, is fighting to repeal South Carolina legislation which prohibits Civil War monuments from being removed from public state property. 

Weaver states in his petition that Boseman “is worthy of the spot that is currently occupied in the town square.”  

In the hours after the announcement of his death, celebrities who knew Boseman turned to social media to pay tribute to his life and legacy. 

Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan shared, “I’m dedicating the rest of my days to live the way you did. With grace, courage, and no regrets.” 

Boseman’s family and friends gathered in Malibu to attend a private memorial service for the 43-year-old actor. Black Panther cast Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Winston Duke were also in attendance. 

Though Boseman passed away at an early age, his legacy will persevere in the hearts of those he touched. 

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California