September 27, 2020

The tragic loss of Chadwick Boseman has left colleagues, friends and fans across the globe feeling a tremendous loss.

The actor left an indelible mark in the world of film and beyond. His talents brought icons such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall to life on screen. Yet, it was his portrayal of T’Challa, the Black Panther that changed the world.

Black Panther was more than a film.  It was the first Black superhero in the Marvel Universe brought to the big screen. It was given the seriousness, budgetary commitment and predominantly Black cast and crew to carry out the vision of the film as intended.  The investment paid off. The film went on to make not just box office history but became a cultural moment. It inspired people, if not a generation.

In a 20/20 Tribute Special honoring Boseman, his Black Panther co-star, Forest Whitaker recalled filming the coronation scene in the film. Whitaker shared that during filming of the scene in which T’Challa is coronated King of Wakanda, Boseman turned to him and said, “don’t you feel something, that energy. That change is coming”.  With Black Panther, Boseman brought that change. If ever in doubt, please see just a few of the moments below.

Students at Ron Clark Academy Celebrate Field Trip to See Black Panther

The video went viral. It was students at Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta receiving the news that they were going on a field trip to see Black Panther.  Words can’t describe the reaction. See it for yourself.

 

Chadwick Boseman Surprises Fans on The Tonight Show

The skit was designed as a pre-interview bit to get a few laughs. Yet, when audience members gave their sincere reaction, thoughts and thanks for how the film impacted them. It was clear, there was something larger at hand. This was more than a film, it was capturing the zeitgeist and long held sentiment of communities of color.

 

Cover of Time Magazine

 For many a businessman, politician, celebrity or artist making the cover of Time Magazine is a career defining moment. When was the last time you saw a superhero on the cover?  Upon the release of the film, Time Magazine released a print and digital cover featuring Boseman and Black Panther. Accompanied by an article in which writer Jamil Smith, highlights the cultural significance of the film. Covering the history of the Black Panther comics, which first appeared in the civil rights era up to the character’s inclusion in the MCU, and what this means for black representation in media. “This is not just a movie about a black superhero,” Smith wrote, “it’s very much a black movie. It carries a weight that neither Thor nor Captain America could lift serving a black audience that has long gone under­represented.”

Boseman Honors a Real-Life Hero

Perhaps a moment more indicative of the person Chadwick Boseman was.  The 2018 MTV Movie Awards. Upon receiving the award for “Best Hero” Boseman chose instead to honor real life hero James Shaw, Jr.  Months prior Shaw disarmed a gunman armed with an AR-15 style rifle during a shooting at a Nashville Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee. His action saved lives. Boseman brought Shaw on stage and presented Shaw with his award. 

In conclusion, may we simply say, “Chadwick Forever”.

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