It is with great regret and sorrow that we must confront the death of the film legend, activist and icon, Chadwick Boseman. Boseman, aged 43, was confirmed to have passed on the 28th of August as a result of his stage IV colon cancer.
Chadwick Boseman, commonly recognised as Marvel Entertainment’s King T’Challa, was a symbol of pride and power for many African Americans. Over the course of his career he portrayed several historical African American figures, notably James Brown in Get On Up (2014) and Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013).
However, Boseman’s pièce de résistance was his role in Black Panther (2018). The premise of the feature film was that of a utopian and technologically advanced African community, adeptly concealed from western and mainstream society, and the unrest that it faced surrounding lineage and the inheritance of the throne.
Here, T’Challa was a signifier of strength and liberty: the first black superhero, black royalty and the Black Panther. He was a warrior and a king and so a beacon of hope for many. That being said, the aforementioned strength that audiences saw is cemented by the realisation that Boseman fulfilled his role whilst privately battling cancer.
He is said to have been diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 although he continued to act following this; he played a recurring character in the Marvel Avengers franchise and starred in Brian Kirk’s 21 Bridges (2019).
On the 28th, Boseman died in his home, surrounded by his family and wife, as was confirmed by an official statement released on the 29th. The news was met with an overwhelming response from numerous celebrities and relevant organisations who paid tribute to the award winning and acclaimed actor.
It is often difficult to find words when faced with the loss of an undeniably beloved idol and so to quote Mark Ruffalo, rest in power, King.