In Igbo culture, when a great king breathes their last, they say, “Oke osisi adaala n’obodo,” which means “a great tree has fallen in the land.” Rarely do great trees fall. But the fall is not the end of the tree because its roots will always be there in the soil. Chadwick Boseman’s life is just like that great tree. Part of him will continue to live on through his work and inspire us. The beloved king of Wakanda and a respected son of every proud father left earth to start the unending journey to eternity and beyond. On Friday, 28th August 2020, Chadwick Boseman passed away at the age of 43.
The family of Boseman responded mournfully, “It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the death of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III Colon Cancer and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick, persevered through it all and brought us many of the films we have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Blood, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all are filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the highpoint of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time.”
In the town of Andersons, Chadwick Aaron Boseman was born. On November 29th, 1976 North Carolina was blessed with T’Challa, the King of Wakanda. Graduating from Howard University with a degree in directing Chadwick took acting with an objective to understand direction in a better way. In the beginning, he appeared as a guest artist in the TV shows before being the regular actor, in two short lived TV shows i.e Lincoln Heights and Persons Unknown. In 2013, Boseman got his first breakthrough in a Biographical Feature named 42 where he played the character of Jackie Robinson. He then registered himself in the books of critics and continued playing historical characters following James Brown in Get on Up (2014) and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017).
Then came the year 2018, when Chadwick Boseman was about to become the topic of a generation. Boseman’s Black Panther was announced to be the first stand-alone movie of a Black superhero by Marvel, one of the biggest production houses of the film industry. It was also the first superhero film to win an Oscar Nomination in the Best Film Category. Although he had appeared as Black Panther before in 2016 in Captain America but in 2018 Boseman received international appreciation by renouncing himself as T’Challa, the King of Wakanda. His ‘Wakanda Forever’ dialogue became a mantra for the youth overnight. From playing a little character of Floyd little in The Express : The Ernie Davis Story in the year 2008 to become the King of Wakanda in 2018…the legend of Chadwick lives on.
Chadwick and Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer of the comic Black Panther, was in Howard University at the same time. What an extraordinary coincidence! Chadwick was not only an actor but also he wrote his first screenplay Crossroads, dedicating to his basketball teammate in college after he was being murdered. From a baller to a writer, Chadwick truly was a magnificent character. His play Deep Azure got him a nomination for the Jeff Award for Best New Play.
Boseman along with Courtney B. Vance had raised an amount of 5.7 million dollars in emergency aid to more than 6,100 SAG-AFTRA members in need. Vance said some encouraging words in this saddened situation. He said, “Mr. Chadwick Boseman represented the very best of what it means to be an actor, a man, and a strong, resilient, purposeful human being. Despite his battling colon cancer, he selflessly rose each and every day to fulfill his dream – his destiny – of being a part of our worldwide community. We salute and honor him for his eternal contributions to the annals of history. We will forever be grateful to him and his family for his gifts.”
Black Panther gave a voice to millions of fans across the nations. Trevor Noah put it eloquently what made Boseman the King that he was in a tweet “Yes this was our king. Not because we served him or because he ruled. But because of how he served us in everything he did. He played a hero on screen and lived like one in real life. From South Carolina to South Africa he made so many of us proud of who we are and for that he will always be our king. Hamba kahle Chadwick… Sizoku bona phambili.” Kind, resilient, affectionate and powerful, Chadwick Boseman was the kind that superheroes are made of.