In an interview about the award-winning Marvel film, Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman asked the question, “what does this do for the world?”. Dearest Chadwick, I hope that you were able to see the impact that you made before leaving here. Boseman's career as an actor and even as an activist is a reflection of the question that he posed. He was dedicated to his craft and very selective about the characters that he played. As countless fans, industry peers, and world-renowned figures shared their memories of him, there were a few recurring attributes that resonated. Many spoke of his grace and humility, gentle demeanor, and his kind smile. Boseman’s peers from the Black Panther spoke of the way he made everyone feel welcome and commanded the room.
The film Black Panther was more than just a movie. For many of us in the Black American community and the African diaspora at large, this film was an inspirational movement. It was a display of glorious cultural representation on a mainstream platform. It was an artistic commentary on real-world social and cultural issues. Chadwick Boseman was at the forefront of this epic work as the title character, superhero, Black Panther (King T’Challa). While inspiring others with this legendary role, and many other great films, Boseman was battling with colon cancer. In the midst of his own suffering, he made it his mission to uplift others. His dedication to the children at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital is just one of the many ways that he brought joy and hope to many. The iconic actress, Phylicia Rashad, was one of Boseman’s instructors at Howard University and mentor. During ABC’s special, Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute For A King, Rashad emphasized that Boseman was about justice for everyone.
Whether you were fortunate enough to meet him, or like me and many others, a fan from a distance, I believe that we can all agree that he was regal both on and off-camera.