Editorial: As You Can See, I am NOT Dead

 In the Black Panther Epic, King T'Challa brought to life, memories of resilience and strength.

 

Seeing Black Panther again and following his words to N'Jadaka, "I Never Yielded, and as you can see, I am not dead", it will be fair to say that Boseman is really not dead because he lives in the hearts of many. Shakespeare was probably right to say that "life is a stage". For Boseman, it was two stages - his original life and his life in the movies.


Chadwick Boseman was born on the 29th November 1977. He was raised in Anderson, South Carolina, to his African American parents, Leroy and Carolyn Boseman. Boseman’s interviews reveal varying conversations that he is from the lineage of the Krio people from Sierra Leone and in some accounts, a descendant of the Yorubas in Nigeria. He had a nurse mom and a dad that worked at a textile factory, and also looked after an upholstery business.

Chadwick Boseman finished from T.L Hanna High School about 25 years ago, in 1995 specifically, had his first play written while he was in his junior year. The play was titled Crossroads. And was staged at his school after a classmate of his was murdered in cold blood.

He later attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. and graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and directing in 2000.

Boseman had his first television role in an episode of ‘Third Watch’ in 2003. He then featured in ‘Law and Order’, ‘ER’ and ‘CSI’ before getting his breakout role as Jackie Robinson in ’42’. It was his act in ’42’ that led directly to his role as T’Challa/Black Panther, the fictional leader of Wakanda — a character that first appeared in the ‘Captain America: Civil War.  He also went on to cast as Reggie Montgomery, in daytime soap opera, All My Children. He however revealed that he got fired after he raised an eyebrow and questioned the use of racist stereotypes in the script. The role was recast and co-star, Michael B. Jordan assumed the role. 

His script for Deep Azure was staged in Chicago at the Congo Square Theatre Company. It got nominated for New Work in 2006, at Joseph Jefferson Award.

Boseman played a recurring role on a television series, Lincoln Heights in 2008, and he was featured in The Express: The Ernie Davis Story. In 2010 he was landed regular roles in Person Unknown.

While he was directing an off-Broadway play in East Village, He auditioned for a film where he got his debut starring role, ’42’, a 2013 movie where he played the role of a baseball pioneer and star Jackie Robinson. 

In multiple reviews, Chadwick Boseman is regarded as the Brave ‘Black Panther’ Who Starred In about nine Movies While Hiding his Cancer Battle

 

Over the last four years, even as he was on surgeries and chemotherapies, Boseman took up several roles across blockbuster films. The year after his diagnosis, he filmed and appeared in ‘Gods of Egypt’ (2016), ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (2016), and ‘Message From The King’ (2016). Chadwick then took the role of ‘Thurgood Marshall’, the first black Supreme Court Justice, in 2017’s ‘Marshall’ before the famed ‘Black Panther’ (2018). He also played the same role in other Marvel films such as ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018) and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019). He starred in Spike Lee’s 2020 film ‘Da 5 Bloods’ as ‘Stormin’ and August Wilson’s upcoming ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’. In 2019, Boseman had noted that the film changed what it meant to be “young, gifted and black.”

For his biggest role in ‘Black Panther’ and its many fight scenes, Boseman was said to have trained rigorously to get in shape and learned Angolan capoeira, Dambe boxing, Zulu stick fighting, karate, kung-fu and jiu-jitsu. According to his family, many of Boseman’s movies got filmed amid his “countless surgeries and chemotherapy” even as his cancer diagnosis was not publicly known.


Before the advent of ‘Black Panther’, Marvel’s 2018 superhero film, which had starred the now regrettably deceased Chadwick Boseman as its lead character, many argued the prejudices among US filmmakers regarding the diversity of their movie casts and the descriptions for roles often accorded people of African descent. But, with Boseman having adorned himself in that daredevil costume that later saw him change the narrative for the directorial choices pertaining to movie roles by African-Americans as well as the cinematic response to such films, a new found movement that would almost guarantee the success of subsequent movies of this sort was initiated, with many unique African stories waiting to be told. Black Panther would later go-ahead to change history — becoming a huge step forward for African cinema, grossing over $1.3 billion worldwide, and breaking numerous box office records including the highest-grossing film by a black director and ranking among the ten highest-grossing films of all time.

While Boseman was fighting villains on-screen, many never knew was that the man behind the black mask was also waging a very real battle in his personal life and edging closer to his death, having been diagnosed with stage three colon cancer back in 2016. Boseman had not publicly spoken about his illness before his death. In April, fans had expressed concerns over the Marvel star’s health after he was pictured with drastic weight loss. The film star, who appeared visibly thin and sporting a beard, however, did not engage fans with questions.

He eventually breathed his last on Friday evening while at home with his family.

Being a firm believer in social justice, the actor had severally spoken against racism, having lived in Brooklyn as a black man at the start of his career. Boseman worked as the drama instructor in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York. In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles to finally pursue an acting career.

After news of his death broke, Howard University tweeted a tribute, where Wayne Fredrick, the school’s president said, “It is with profound sadness that we mourn the loss of alumnus Chadwick Boseman who passed away this evening. His incredible talent will forever be immortalized through his characters and through his own personal journey from student to superhero! Rest in Power!”
Even the institution will hardly forget the deceased star’s moving speech, which was made after he returned in 2018 to his alma mater on an invitation to deliver the main address at the school’s historic 150th commencement ceremony. There, he praised student protesters who had taken a stand a month earlier, and he charged graduates to find purpose in their lives and not simply a job.

“When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. The purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history,” he said while addressing the graduates.

“Many of you will leave Howard and enter systems and institutions that have a history of discrimination and marginalization. The fact that you have struggled with this university you love is a sign that you can use your education to improve the world you’re entering.”

He had also initially started studying acting so as to learn how to interact with actors. Upon his return to the U.S., he had a program concluded from the New York City’s Digital Film Academy.

In 2008, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his acting dream. While kicking off his career, Boseman initially lived in Brooklyn and also worked in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, as a drama instructor, which is housed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York.

Boseman grew as a Christian. He was baptized and was also part of a youth group and church choir. Reports have it that Boseman didn’t deviate from his faith. One of his former pastors attested that he indeed was firm with his faith. Boseman had initially stated that he carve to star Black Panther before being cast as Marvel Cinematic Universe character. Foodwise, the actor was a vegetarian.


In 2018, he was Black Panther headliner. A movie that focused on his character and home country of Wakanda in Africa. The movie became one came top in the leading grossing movies in United States that year.

He repeated the role in 2018 and 2019 films, Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War. The two movies came top in highest-grossing films within that year when they got released. Endgame became the highest-grossing film of all time.

Boseman also starred in 21 Bridges in 2019. 21 Bridges is an American action thriller film which was directed by Brian Kirk. He was announced to cast Da 5 Bloods in 2019. The Netflix war drama was directed by Spike Lee, and was released on June 12 2020.

Chadwick Boseman got married Taylor Simone Ledward. They dated for four years, got engaged in October 2019 and secretly tied the knot before his passing.

The brave actor was diagnosed in 2016, with a stage III colon cancer. By 2020, it had progressed into stage IV. And even during his treatments – multiple chemotherapy and surgeries – he still went on to work and complete filming for multiple films. The films he concluded include Da 5 Bloods, Marshall, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, among several others.

However, in the height of it all, Boseman lost the battle to the dreaded disease. He died at 43, with his wife beside him, and his family members around him. He died of complications connected to colon cancer on August 28, 2020.

A sequel of the Black Panther movie is projected to be released in 2022.

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