Like most of you, I was in total shock when I learned of the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, who succumbed to colon cancer at the age of 43, on Friday, August 29. His meteoric star was on the rise with his lead roles portraying American icons such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall. But it was his iconic role as a Black superhero in the movie, “Black Panther,” that resonated in ways many had never experienced on the big screen.
Black people especially were so excited. Many of us donned costumes, made an entire party on the opening day of the movie, and watched with such pride, these fictional characters that brought Black excellence to life. To this day, so many of us chant the words, “Wakanda Forever!” with our fists crossed on our chests.
What none of us knew, is that our “King” of super heroes, would soon be gone.
I want you to consider this — Boseman KNEW he had stage 3 colon cancer when he took the role of King T’Challa in the movie Black Panther.
He took the chemotherapy treatments and surgeries with “dignity and strength,” according to Oprah Winfrey.
He gave the commencement speech at Howard University in 2018 along with so many more appearances after he skyrocketed to fame.
He was incredibly sick that entire time.
Even more importantly, so few people knew of his diagnosis including Leticia Wright, the actress that portrayed his sister in the movie. She was so devastated, she took to instagram to create a memorial of him as she like many others had no idea that his time amongst them all was coming to a close.
He made his days and LIFE count by following his purpose. In one statement he made during an interview, he said this-“The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
Someone named KeyWlliams tweeted the following after his passing: “It’s not lost on me the way the internet bullied Chadwick Boseman the last two years about his appearance, his looking tired, etc. to the point where he began deleting photos while he was fighting for his life. You truly never know what people are going through. BE KIND.”
He was the youngest of three boys, so, while we mourn in shock, please consider his family right now.
His death left a void, but created a much needed dialogue about colon health and how it impacts Black people in disparate ways. There has also been a large uptick in people getting colon exams according to our local news. For that alone, we should all be grateful for his life that he gave us with dignity, even in death.
In memory of him, I sat and watched the movie “Black Panther” in the days following his death with fresh new eyes, and here are the lessons I learned:
–Some truths are too hard to bear-but bear them we MUST, because the repercussions could be felt for generations to come.
–No man is perfect, not even the ones we look up to.
–You can’t let your ancestors’ mistakes define who you are.
–Anger can create the “monsters” of revenge.
There are countries with enough the resources to deliver people from starvation and death, but many heads of countries can’t see past the places where they lead. As a direct result, quite like Wakanda, ignoring the turmoil outside of ourselves and where we live, we have a world in the same dire straights due to arrogance and greed.
Killmonger was born after his father was killed trying to help the world and was considered a defector in Wakanda for wanting to help the outside world. To add insult to injury, they left the boy and told no one, he existed.
He, was the truth the king chose to omit.
That boy was hurt that his father was killed and he was left behind. He also felt betrayed in the worst way and the hurt child became an angry and out of control adult.
Killmonger got his revenge by challenging the king to become one himself. Except, he had no idea how to lead with love and empathy.
Hate begets same… you can’t lead anyone long term on hate and revenge. It never ends well.
Killmonger’s heart was too full of hatred to rule well, and his army for protection, turned against him, causing a civil war in Wakanda to right the wrongs that started with T’Challa’s father who was king before him.
We often pay the price for our ancestors mistakes, so we should really try to create a better path for our own children.
There is so much brilliance that is untapped in Black people in an effort to make us forget we built pyramids, and created things like embalming fluids in the 1400 B.C.
Never, EVER forget WHO you are and WHOSE you are, for a man without a history, is doomed to wallow aimlessly in life.
Yes, I saw all of this and so much more in one Marvel movie.
Rest in Power, for a job well done, sir.