I am thinking about what Chadwick Boseman meant to us and how in 2018 he and the Black Panther cast inspired and reminded us of our greatness, brilliance, love, nuances and complexities as Black people. When the movie was announced in 2016, it trended due to the excitement of seeing a Black superhero get his own movie (read: representation). And when it was finally released, we showed up and showed out and we left, beaming with Black love and Black pride.
But in the wake of Boseman’s transitioning at the age of 43, I keep thinking of the one story that always made my heart smile. When he starred in 42, the biopic about baseball player Jackie Robinson, his wife, Rachel Annetta Robinson, was in awe of Boseman. This is because Boseman did what the heart-shaped herb did for Black Panther, it brought Robinson back to life and Mrs. Robinson got to see her husband, again.
Since seeing 42 and learning of this story, I have been fond of Chadwick Boseman and like millions was excited to see him bring Black Panther to life. I was not disappointed. Although he played roles like Thurgood Marshall and James Brown, playing T’Challa has left a legacy of an immeasurable magnitude beyond record breaking box-office numbers. Because you can’t quantify the dreams and aspirations of the children who pretend to be T’Challa and develop a love for technology (and yes, we must credit Zuri, played by Letitia Wright, too). And you can’t measure the message of (re)connecting with our ancestors. The heart-shaped herb fueled Wakanda’s future and linked it to its’ past…Just like Chadwick Boseman’s legacy.
Rest well and thank you, Chadwick.