When a celebrity like Chadwick Boseman passes away, it hits me hard. It’s not that he was close to my age; it’s that he played characters/person that impacted my life. My wife likes to give me a hard time about how celebrities impact my life. “They are just people” is normally what I hear. To me they aren’t; to me, they are people and characters that allow me to escape.
I’ve always used sports, comics, and movies as a way to escape my day to day life. I get sucked into a story and it’s over; 1 good story and I’m a fan for life (I’m still waiting for a new Richard Kelly movie).
Boseman was the Black Panther. While seeing that character on screen was cool, I enjoyed hearing more from African American’s about the impact of seeing a black hero on screen. Marc Benardin led the way, talking about about seeing him on screen, seeing other African American’s and the impact it had on them (a Fatman on Batman episode is what sticks out in my mind), and the impact of losing this icon.
I’m white. I never realized the impact of a character like Black Panther had on black nerds. I did realize the impact after reading and listening to Marc.
The crazy thing was Black Panther led to the opposite effect. Chadwick Boseman, playing the character on screen, led to white kids wanting to be a black character. My son loves the character. He went as him for Halloween when the movie came out. My son cried when I told him about Boseman’s passing. It wasn’t about a black actor passing; it was about an icon passing. Kids…they don’t see color; they are innocent in this regard.
I took Boseman’s passing pretty hard, but I struggled to tell my 9-year-old son. Then when he broke down, I broke down. I’m breaking down just writing this.
I don’t know what Marvel is planning for Black Panther 2. I would have to imagine they knew about Boseman’s cancer. I would hope they have a contingency plan for this. I’ve heard that people don’t want Black Panther re-cast, since Boseman did the character so much justice. While making someone like Shuri the new Black Panther would be cool, it’s wouldn’t do the character of T’Challa justice. African American children need to see this character continued; the character means too much to those that haven’t seen representation. It’s the same reason we need to see a live action Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and America Chavez.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much outside of his Black Panther stuff. Of course, he’s Jackie Robinson; I would have liked to see the MLB take 42 seconds of silence for the passing of Boseman, since it it Jackie Robinson Weekend. I’d only seen him in Draft Day outside of these 2 roles (I’ve been wanting to watch Da 5 Bloods since it came out; I’ll be knocking it out this week). He was a remarkable talent in these movies and it’s a travesty that we won’t be able to see him in anything else (outside of What If, which he did finish according to his people).
RIP Chadwick. Wakanda Forever.