Chadwick Boseman impacts millions after passing away


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Black icon artist Chadwick Boseman dies at 43 on August 28, 2020, impacting millions across the world

Fabiola Figueroa Aguyao, Reporter

The world was shocked when news of actor Chadwick Boseman, a man who graced the movie screen playing several iconic black characters such as Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and of course Black Panther, passed away at the age of 43 in his home on August 28.

Boseman had been battling colon cancer privately for four years according to the official statement given by his family. During that time, Boseman performed in several movies including Marshall, Black Panther, 21 Bridges, Da 5 Bloods and many other films while also going through intense cancer treatment. These films have served as empowering black stories that have inspired many African Americans across the country and as a stepping stone to recognizing the black community

At the 25 Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs), after receiving the best ensemble award for the movie Black Panther, Boseman spoke on what it was like to be a black actor.

“We know what it’s like to be told there isn’t a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on…We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day. We knew that we could create a world that exemplified a world we wanted to see. We knew that we had something to give,” Boseman said.

Boseman starred in several historical black movies, his roles in 42, Get on Up and Marshall were some of his bigger films in his long catalog.  Though not his first movie, or even his first movie regarding a sports hero, (that honor goes to The Express: The Ernie Davis Story), his portrayal of baseball legend Jackie Robinson in 42 was his break-out role. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Boseman was asked about Robinson’s character and how he managed to stay calm while playing for the Brooklyn Dodger’s team, even when almost everybody was against him playing.

“I think he is a special individual…To be put in a situation where the essence of who you are is being questioned and undermined and belittled- in most cases people would think that is something to fight for,” Boseman said.

The 42 role was not one that was granted easily to Boseman. After he got news that he would be playing Robinson, he went to prepare for his role by speaking with Rachel Robinson, the widow of the late Jackie Robinson and Sharon Robinson, their daughter. In an interview with Vanity Fair Boseman spoke on how Rachel Robinson helped him bring Jackie Robinson to life on the screen.

“She started the journey, definitely. She showed up on set. And she challenged me by asking me why I should play him. That’s a good place to start because you have to start with yourself,” Boseman said.

The Robinson family was not sure of Boseman playing Jackie at first, Boseman recalled what Rachel Robinson had said to him when first meeting each other,

“If we had made this movie when I wanted to make this movie, Sidney Poitier would have played your role. And then Denzel [Washington] was supposed to play it. And now we have you. Who are you?” said Rachel.

Boseman proved his worth by training from the middle of January to May in L.A. with several baseball coaches, going two times a day to practice his baseball skills and having the coaches compare Boseman’s footage with Jackie Robinson’s in order to mirror his mannerisms. This strong work ethic served him well in 42, as the film was critically acclaimed and it grossed $95 million in the United States. Chadwick’s hard-working demeanor would

After 42, Chadwick would be the leading role in two more biopics, 2013’s Get on Up and 2017’s Marshall. His determination to tell the stories of James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul” and Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, would make for memorable and inspiring films up to the triumphant Black Panther.

His passing away has had a worldwide impact as several people shared what his films meant to them. Many on social media have posted pictures of their children mourning the actor, making the Wakanda salute from Black Pantherand creating mock funerals with action figures surrounding King T’Challa, the character Boseman played in the movie. Others wore their number 42 jerseys, paying tribute to his depiction of Jackie Robinson in the film 42.

Two weeks after Boseman’s death, Black Panther comics were released for free on digital comic retailer Comixology to pay tribute to the late actor. 256 issues were free to be shared for longtime nostalgic fans of the hero or to newcomers discovering Black Panther for the first time.

Celebrities and other co-stars of Boseman such as Lupita Nyong’o payed respects in heartfelt social media posts.

“His power lives on and will reverberate for generations to come. He used his life force to tell meaningful stories,” Nyong’o said.

Chadwick is survived by his wife, Taylor Simone Leeward and is remembered by millions.