We hold on to the hope that our king has gladly rejoined his ancestors.
It’s Monday, August 31, 2020, and I still can’t believe that 3 days ago on August 28, Chadwick Boseman passed away. I was still reeling it in, I couldn’t keep up, and yet the world had already updated his Wikipedia page with his date of death. The world who had already turned all of the ‘is’s in his biographies into ‘was’s. So let me try to follow suit in an attempt to let it slowly sink in not just for me but I assume for you as well.
Chadwick was an actor who brought characters to life. Born and raised in South Carolina to African-Americans, Carolyn and Leroy Boseman. A proud Howard University graduate in directing, Boseman had taught, directed, wrote, acted, on plays and feature films his whole life.
The first lead role he landed was Jackie Robinson in the film 42(2013), about the baseball pioneer’s life. Acting as a historical figure had set the tone for the next major productions he would be doing starring as the godfather of soul, James Brown in Get On Up(2013), and the first Black justice in America, Thurgood Marshall in Marshall(2017).
But everyone who knows Chadwick Boseman today probably knows him as the face of Marvel’s African monarch, King T’Challa, or in the realm of superheroes, Black Panther.
Black Panther shook the world right at its very core and a large part of that reason is Chadwick and how he carried this role. And a large part of his successful portrayal was because he carried the poise and grace and nobility in him all along. From then on, it became difficult to see him as anyone other than “Our King” or “King T’Challa” or simply “Black Panther”.
The film meant so much for representation in the narrative of Black History but its influence spilled over the African-American race to the rest of the world. Its impact became revolutionary to at least a large portion of minority races across the globe.
This is probably why his death dealt with such a huge blow to millions of people globally, so much more than any past celebrity death. The man became more than himself–even transcending the four corners of a movie screen as King T’Challa—no, he was our true king. Our true king who lead us through injustices, who strived to be kind, who yearned to bring peace throughout the world even beyond his own reach. Especially in this time of unrest, we are deeply saddened for the loss of our true king.
Hail to the King: Fallen but never Forgotten
Celebrities and common folk alike poured out their grief over the news on social media in what we could only describe as a public digital eulogy.
The former president and former first lady reminisce about their interactions with the great actor who played and did justice to so many important roles.
Only Chadwick could embody Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, and T’Challa. He, too, knew what it meant to persevere. To summon real strength. And he belongs right there with them as a hero—for Black kids and for all our kids. There’s no better gift to give our world. ❤ pic.twitter.com/t2tjZDMxNT
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) August 29, 2020
Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson. You could tell right away that he 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. https://t.co/KazXV1e7l7
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 29, 2020
Stars of the MCU, Mark Ruffalo, Brie Larsson, Chris Evans, and Zoe Saldana, posted their personal sentiments as well.
All I have to say is the tragedies amassing this year have only been made more profound by the loss of #ChadwickBoseman. What a man, and what an immense talent. Brother, you were one of the all time greats and your greatness was only beginning. Lord love ya. Rest in power, King.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) August 29, 2020
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) August 29, 2020
I’m absolutely devastated. This is beyond heartbreaking.
Chadwick was special. A true original. He was a deeply committed and constantly curious artist. He had so much amazing work still left to create. I’m endlessly grateful for our friendship. Rest in power, King💙 pic.twitter.com/oBERXlw66Z
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) August 29, 2020
I’m gonna have to tell Cy, Bowie and Zen that T’Challa has passed. What other king can I tell them about now? pic.twitter.com/AFEFxJOFd5
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) August 29, 2020
Chadwick’s Marvel co-stars also shared their memories of Chadwick on-screen in this sentimental segment by ABC News to celebrate the life of the fallen Avenger.
i cut together all the marvel actors’ words for chadwick boseman’s tribute tonight.. and now i’m crying again (pt 1) pic.twitter.com/LIG3Al8jbv
— katie (@cevansavenger) August 31, 2020
In personal tweets, Angela Basset (T’Challa’s mother, Ronda) and Letitia Wright (T’Challa’s sister, Shuri), stars who worked closely with Chadwick on Black Panther, also aired their sadness over social media.
this hurts. really hurts
— Letitia Wright (@letitiawright) August 30, 2020
View this post on Instagram
“It was meant to be for Chadwick and me to be connected, for us to be family. But what many don’t know is our story began long before his historic turn as Black Panther. During the premiere party for Black Panther, Chadwick reminded me of something. He whispered that when I received my honorary degree from Howard University, his alma mater, he was the student assigned to escort me that day. And here we were, years later as friends and colleagues, enjoying the most glorious night ever! We’d spent weeks prepping, working, sitting next to each other every morning in makeup chairs, preparing for the day together as mother and son. I am honored that we enjoyed that full circle experience. This young man’s dedication was awe-inspiring, his smile contagious, his talent unreal. So I pay tribute to a beautiful spirit, a consummate artist, a soulful brother…”thou aren’t not dead but flown afar…”. All you possessed, Chadwick, you freely gave. Rest now, sweet prince.” #WakandaForever
Repostings of Boseman’s exemplary 2018 commencement speech at alma mater, Howard University, have made rounds around social media once more for his inspiring words on race, confidence, and purpose.
Just a few hours ago, Black Panther’s home court, Marvel Studios, released their own tribute video to their King T’Challa.
The tribute video ends with Boseman’s own interview in looking back at the impact and influence Black Panther held over the population. Boseman recounts, “Is it actually valuable in this climate? And I have to say—yes it actually is. Not because it makes people escape. I think when done right, it gives people hope”
It is within the hope that he lives through Black Panther that I move forward–that we move forward. Wakanda may not exist as a physical land, but it is real. It exists as our utopia and is led by only one king—now, and forever. Rest in peace, King.
Thank you so much, Chadwick Boseman.
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