Tribute to Chadwick Boseman


Riana Henry, Staff Writer

On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman passed away in his Los Angeles home after a four-year battle with colon cancer. His most iconic performances include Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, Jackie Robinson in 42 and King T’Challa in Black Panther. Portraying these strong Black leaders, Boseman inspired young Black Americans and shattered Hollywood’s harmful stereotypes of African and African-American culture. 

Most notably, Black Panther served as a breath of fresh air with its predominantly Black cast and its vibrant exploration of African culture. With his convincing, heartfelt performance, Boseman brought his character, T’Challa, to life. Playing a strong, powerful Black superhero, Boseman inspired young children in the Black community and emboldened their immeasurable strength and self worth.

“You could tell right away that [Boseman] was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years,” tweeted former President Barack Obama. 

In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer, which eventually progressed to Stage 4; he privately battled the terrors of cancer and endured countless chemotherapy treatments and surgeries. Throughout his four-year struggle with cancer, Boseman delivered numerous iconic performances and demonstrated his boundless compassion and talent. 

Not only was Boseman a hero on screen, but he was also one in real life. Before the release of Black Panther, Boseman visited children who were diagnosed with cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dealing with the very same illness, Boseman demonstrated unfathomable strength and compassion to bring joy to these young children. Unfortunately, during the last year of his illness, Boseman endured significant weight loss and was occasionally mocked online for it. On top of fighting for his life, Boseman was forced to deal with these hateful remarks one derogatory tweet labeled him “Crack Panther” for his gaunt appearance. 

Numerous friends, co-stars, and the community commemorate Boseman for his warm nature and unrelenting dedication. In the words of Boseman’s Black Panther co-star Lupita Nyong’o, “He set the bar high by working with a generosity of spirit, creating an ego-free environment by sheer example, and he always had a warm gaze and a strong embrace to share.”

On September 24, 2020, Disneyland uncovered a mural titled “King Chad” dedicated to Chadwick Boseman in Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Created by Nikkolas Smith, this remarkable mural depicts a young boy in a Black Panther mask and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa facing and saluting each other with the famous “Wakanda Forever” arm-cross. This beautiful piece honors the life of a true hero and etches his memory into history.

“King Chad” painted by Nikkolas Smith

Boseman was a fighter, a light, and a role model who left behind an invaluable legacy for the Black community. Although he left the world too soon, his accomplishments will forever be indented in history. Boseman touched numerous lives and paved the way for future generations of meaningful Black representation.