“In my culture, death is not the end. It’s more of a stepping-off point…”
Those words were said by Chadwick Boseman in his role as Black Panther. This dialogue may perhaps be a reflection of his short but glorious legacy. Chadwick was 43 when he breathed his last, with his family by his side, on August 28.
A statement from his family revealed that the actor was fighting cancer yet chose to act in-between surgeries and chemotherapy. He was battling for life as he shot “Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and several more”.
His performance as many iconic black figures cemented his career as someone with the determination to ace up the art of acting. Chadwick reflected the humility and warmth of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball, in the biopic “42”. He got into the skin of the popular singer James Brown, to which the Time said, “Boseman carries and lifts ‘Get On Up’ to its most impressive heights”. In “Marshall”, Chadwick played Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States, proving that he worked with class and dedication to every character he played.
But Chadwick didn’t taste success early in his career. A part of the reason could be his belief in never compromising to perform stereotypical roles. In his commencement speech at Howard University in 2018, Chadwick recalled that he was “promised to make six figures” for the TV Show, “All My Children” on ABC. Chadwick played the gang member Reggie Porter Montgomery.
However, the actor voiced his doubts as the character was wrapped in cliched assumptions of a black person. “I was let go from that job the next day,” Chadwick said. After filming two episodes, he was later replaced by Michael B. Jordan, who would join him down the years on screen as Erik Killmonger in “Black Panther”.