There are no words. Nothing to describe what kind of individual Chadwick Boseman was in-person or on the screen. A man of dedication, passion, and kindness passed away on August 28th, 2020, after quietly battling colon cancer for four years.
This writer seeks to honor him and his contributions to cinema and recognize how beautiful a human being he was and his symbol of strength and courage towards the world.
Boseman started his journey at Howard University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in directing. He studied abroad in London, and upon returning to the United States, he worked as a drama instructor before pursuing an acting role.
The first role he had portraying Jackie Robinson in 42 encapsulated us. Boseman delivered an emphatic performance while preserving the story of Jackie Robinson, an individual who made history for becoming the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. Boseman had the appeal and utter conviction to play this athlete on-screen, and he did not disappoint. Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson’s widow, praised the film, calling it “authentic” and “powerful.”
Boseman, four years later, would star as Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, an entertaining courtroom drama. His electric performance elevated the chief counsel’s mythic stature for the NAACP, and the case reminded this writer of Gregory Peck’s astonishing performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962). In both films, a black man becomes accused of a serious crime against a white employer/individual, and both times it undoubtedly resonates with the audience in the courtroom setting.
Boseman also did notable work in other films such as Get on Up, 21 Bridges, and Da 5 Bloods. But who could forget his perfect casting and stunning portrayal as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)?
His initial debut in the highly-acclaimed Captain America: Civil War is enthralling, allowing Boseman to channel a calm (but redemptive) persona after a bomb attack killed his character’s father. He tears it up on-screen, engaging in exceptionally choreographed fights and looking like a badass. He is also one of the few scene-stealers in the film, alongside Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man. Another plus is that Boseman plays his role with an exotic tone, as his character exists in a world removed from ours.
In Black Panther, we learn of the fictional country of Wakanda and its practices in a remote part of the world. Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger is the perfect antagonist to Boseman’s T’Challa. The former even goes so far to make the latter become convinced to change Wakanda’s position concerning the world. Their characters’ psychology, the yin-yang-like chemistry between them, and the beautiful ending push this film from exceptional to unforgettable. What a film! What a moment! Wakanda forever!
Boseman has phenomenal acting. He ensured his characters maintained a sense of fluidity and poignancy. Many, including this writer, have praised him for his commitment and ability to shine as an artist. The potential was there, and he took advantage of it and then some. When an actor has that devotion, everything they do moving forward is even more valuable, and Mr. Boseman was no exception. He is a star of the decade.
Unfortunately, we lost a true king. One that immortalized many heroes on-screen from Jackie Robinson to Thurgood Marshall to Marvel’s Black Panther T’Challa. He filmed and starred in billion-dollar (and iconic) films such as Marvel Studios’ Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. No spoilers, but what happens in the MCU films for his character will strike even harder now.
Boseman passed away on a day the Major League Baseball was celebrating Jackie Robinson. He passed away on the day Martin Luther King Jr. addressed his “I Have A Dream” speech (fifty-seven years ago). He passed away on the day Emmett Till was murdered in 1955, an icon of the civil rights movement. It is genuinely heartbreaking, and the world lost a hero and king. May Mr. Chadwick Boseman rest in peace