Written by Anagha H |Updated: August 29, 2020 11:30:02 pm
The actor who embodied the iconic role of King T’Challa and Black Panther, in the titular record-breaking movie, Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman, passed away on the 28th of August, 2020 at the age of 43. Since he was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, the thespian had privately battled the disease while continuing filming on movies like Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In a tribute to the gifted star, let us look back and celebrate his life.
Chadwick Boseman was born on November 29, 1976, in the town of Anderson, South Carolina. He grew up playing basketball and drawing, initially set his sights on a future as an architect. But fate had a different plan for him. When his classmate was shot and killed, he wrote and staged his first play ‘Crossroads’ during junior high school. He knew then that he wanted to pursue the art of telling stories and consequently applied for a Bachelor of Fine
Arts degree in directing, at Howard University.
Chadwick and a few other classmates caught the eye of his mentor, Phylicia Rashad, who gathered sponsors to help them attend the Oxford Mid-Summer Program at the British American Drama Academy.
The Gifted Artist
From there on, Boseman dipped his toe in a little bit of everything. He was a drama instructor at the Schomburg Center. He took up acting classes- only to improve his communication with actors, aspiring to be a director himself. And his play, Deep Azure, did earn critical acclaim. But after securing a recurring role in the television series All My Children and Persons Unknown, appearing in Law & Order, CSI: NY, Castle, and numerous other shows, starring in The Express (his Hollywood debut) and The Kill Hole, it was with the biopic film 42 where he portrayed Jackie Robinson that he caught his big break.
There was no stopping him after that. He excelled in every other role he landed, notably in Get On Up and Marshall. It was with Captain America: Civil War, however, that he landed his most coveted role thus far- Black Panther. He had actually maintained notes on the superhero since 2012 and didn’t skip a beat to audition for it. Needless to say, he’d clearly nailed it.
Black Panther – The Crown Jewel
This was the crown jewel of his career. Boseman was undoubtedly a brilliant actor but when the production for Black Panther was approved, he really pulled out all the stops. He took a DNA test to understand his African lineage in-depth, visited South Africa for research, and trained in African martial arts, like Dambe boxing. He had earlier lost a gig when he criticized that its script perpetuated racist stereotypes so he did not want to miss out on any chance to combat those very prejudices.
One of the most revolutionizing decisions he pushed for was to carry the Xhosa accent throughout the film even while speaking in English. This cemented the efforts he made to ensure that Black Panther did its best to uphold the heritage of the black community.
A soft-spoken, talented, and dedicated human being whose generosity and inspiration shone through his work, his passing brought out devastated and sorrowful responses from his co-stars, alma mater, and other industries alike. He shall always be remembered. Wakanda Forever.
You’ll be Remembered