Remembering Chadwick Boseman w/ "Black Panther"
Black Panther, a household name since before its debut in 2018, now a film holding even more weight as it now not only commemorates the work of Black people in the film industry and Superhero universe, but also the epitome of work by the late, Chadwick Boseman. And although almost a month has gone by since the world lost not only an incredible actor but also, human being, this hard truth still doesn’t feel quite real. So to help subdue the sorrow and shine a bright light on outstanding achievements, this piece will tackle the stand-out brilliance that is, Black Panther – and what it stood and currently stands for.
This film was notable for being the first ever Marvel film to have a principally Black cast – a milestone in the entertainment and Superhero industry (which is slightly disheartening, considering this only came to be circa 2017 and not sooner). But this fact alone is what spearheaded and sustained, the expansion of the Black Panther fandom and showcased the importance, of the existence of a Black superhero. The same way Barbie eventually created multicultural dolls as a means to demonstrate to girls or simply young children that the ideals of, and stereotypes behind dolls don’t need to stay the same – and that your doll could look just like you or perhaps even your friend – Black Panther met and broke those same ideals and stereotypes for boys or children in general. A Superhero is no longer only a white man with strong facial features. No, a Superhero as Black Panther demonstrated to us can be anyone, including a Black man! And this was and is so important, as it was the first time this realization was magnified, broadcast, and the status quo altered – paving the way for new ideas like that of James Bond or Agent 007 being a Black man being cast into the air in 2018 , and later landed on a female Black protagonist as the new 007 in the yet-to-be-released James Bond film, No Time to Die. But such a milestone and title feature surrounding this film is no longer the only trophy in the trophy case. Why? Because it can now be commemorated for another heavy-weight title, as an inspirational film for anyone fighting cancer or severe illness in general!
I don’t know about you, but watching Black Panther this time around after Chadwick’s passing was strange. How so you might ask? Because now knowing what the actor was going through at the time casts an entirely new light on him. This knowledge makes his achievements remarkable to believe! That all the while Chadwick was still capable of putting on such a show and performing stunt and fight sequences, all whilst suffering under the weight of chemotherapy and countless surgeries! Just imagine, the recovery time you already know exists after an operation, how limited your movements become, the way your diet needs to change, and all the rest that comes with a post-surgery life. Yet all things considered this man was still out here for us fighting fictional crime, trying to be the best King he could be, all whilst fighting his own battle against the unforgiving storm cloud of cancer. Now if that doesn’t astound, seriously shock, surprise and inspire you, then I seriously question the level of humanity you must contain as only an android could feel zero ways about information like that!
Lastly, for those faced with the same obstacle – whether its cancer, any disease that affects your body and physicality, or any other type of illness that seriously infringes on ones ability to do something – I can only imagine how inspiring and motivating it must be to witness someone achieve so much physically and emotionally, despite that same obstacle! That just goes to show that an illness or disease and all its potential side effects, cannot stop you from achieving your goals or doing your best work – much like what Paralympic athletes prove to the world every four years! It might be difficult, sure. It might take more effort than the average person might need to put in. But at the end of the day, what matters is what you achieve, and how that translates your capabilities even if you aren’t and/or cannot perform at your optimal level. Never lose hope in yourself just because something is now affecting your life! Chadwick’s work in Black Panther signifies that you can still live your life and do your best even if there is something dragging you down at the same time – so long as you only allow what's impeding you to just affect and not control your life, you are still capable of all things! And of course, films take time to make, not everything is done in one or even a few shots or sequences, and hours and days of work vary. But, to still turn up to work on your days and put your best foot forward – despite knowing what's ailing and even hindering you from being your absolute best self, and providing your utmost level of skills and work – is incredible, and Chadwick Boseman deserves all the applause for being able to pull it all of during and after filming. So kudos Chadwick, you're no longer just a fictional superhero in the Marvel Comic Universe, you're a real life one too!
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