Column by Dylan Frazier
On Friday, Aug. 28, Chadwick Boseman passed away after his four year battle with colon cancer. Many know him as King T’Challa of Wakanda, some may know him as Jackie Robinson, and many other iconic roles that he has blessed us with over the years as an actor. But above all, he was a real-life superhero in every single way.
You can say whatever you want about Black Panther as a movie and some of the flaws it may or may not have, but to say it isn’t one of the most impactful movies ever would be incorrect. Of course, we have had Black superheroes before Black Panther, like Wesley Snipes’ Blade trilogy, but there have been very few movies with a predominantly Black cast that had this much mainstream appeal to audiences. For many young Black kids, it was the first time they had seen someone who looked like them to be a superhero. Chadwick Boseman brought King T’Challa to life and made Wakanda Forever a mainstay in our pop culture.
What’s even more impressive is that for the last four years, Boseman had been making movies, putting everything he had into them, and keeping his health struggles completely out of the public eye. The fact he was still making movies at such a frequent pace is very telling about what kind of person Boseman was… a fighter. It’s inspiring that even when Boseman was fighting against cancer, he was still doing his job and making millions of people smile. Truly is an inspiring feat.
What made Boseman even more of a superhero than donning the Black Panther was all the charity work he did and the time he spent helping others. Boseman was constantly helping people become more educated voters and he dedicated a lot of his time visiting sick children in hospitals (all while he was fighting his own battle) just to make those children feel better only for a little while. Along with all of this, he fought for equality in Hollywood, which is something long overdue.
While the pain of losing someone so influential and so universally loved by all will sting for quite a long time, Boseman will be remembered as the man who brought representation into the genre of superheroes. Representation matters and I am glad that I got to experience it at the movie theatre.
Rest in Peace, King T’Challa.