A TRIBUTE FOR OUR KING!
Chadwick Boseman didn’t do love stories. He was always battling something. The system, the bad guys, cop killers, corruption, racism...And all that time, it turns out he was also battling cancer.
Boseman’s family announced Friday night that he died in his home surrounded by loved ones. To the utter surprise of his fans, they also disclosed that he was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer in 2016.
“A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much,” read the statement posted on Twitter.
Which means Boseman filmed “Marshall,” “Da 5 Bloods,” “21 Bridges,” “Black Panther” and all of those prequels and spinoffs where he portrayed the Royal African Superhero — “Captain American: Civil War,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame” — while battling the disease.
Can you imagine how much grit that took? These are physically demanding roles. (Even his portrayal of Thurgood Marshall included scenes in which he was brawling and ducking for cover.) Boseman’s extensive post-diagnosis work required that he push himself when doctors and loved ones were no doubt pleading that he pace himself. That is warrior spirit.
Do you get the sense that fighting on screen helped him fight in life? To somehow summon a superhero mind-set? How did he keep focus through the fuzz of chemo-brain? How did he build muscle and avoid infection? How did he keep it all secret? The fact that his illness was held so tight tells me that he was surrounded with a posse of people who cared deeply for him. This is not the kind of information that normally holds in Hollywood because he would have needed special riders and dispensation that allowed for treatments and perhaps even rest.
And then there is Wakanda. “Black Panther” was SO much more than a superhero movie. T’Challa did more than entertain. He served up dignity and strength and humanity. The heir to that mythical African throne was vulnerable in life and love. He was not afraid of strong and smart women. Indeed, he owed his life and leadership to them — an important message for African Americans whose civil rights royalty are locked in a narrative that thoroughly erases the role women played in the Good Fight.
He chose to keep his cancer a secret, I suspect in order to keep working and to project the same personal strength that his characters showed. Looking back, it seems as if his decision not to share his health struggles with the public was an even greater act of courage because it allowed people to maintain their image of the characters he played and be inspired by their heroics. Of course, that selfless choice makes him even more admirable and heroic to all of us.
The death of someone so young and vital is always a blow because it yanks our own mortal coil with a fearful snap. But this is worse because Boseman consistently played characters that gave the Black community pride and hope. We came out of his movies with straighter spines and wider smiles. We would look at each other and nod, feeling like we were part of something bigger than ourselves, something that went back generations to a whole different continent. We saw a whole history of our people’s struggles and triumphs shining in the bright eyes of one indomitable man.
To express our respect for this man, in this week we will sale 50% off all super heroes template design, Black Panther included. Long live the King!