The Legacy of Chadwick Boseman


Trevor White, Staff Writer

Chadwick Boseman’s death was a tragedy. 


In recent years, Chadwick Boseman had been only getting more famous. After many years doing roles on stage and numerous guest spots for TV, he rose to prominence in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42, in 2013. Afterwards, he began starring as other important black figures such as James Brown in Get on Up in 2014,and lawyer and civil rights activist Thurgood Marshall in Marshall in 2016. With this trend of playing roles of black icons, becoming a superhero was a fun extension to that idea. He was cast as Black Panther and first appeared as the character in Captain America: Civil War, in 2016.


Black Panther, released in 2018, was a very important movie for Chadwick, as well as many people around the world. It was a huge success and seemed to be a stepping stone to a long and fruitful career. The film was so successful that it was odd to see how small his role was in Avengers: Infinity War. The filmmakers obviously underestimated how popular he would be.


Boseman’s death on August 28, 2020 at age 43, it was a terrible shock as described in an Aug 29 article by CNN. It seemed unlikely he, of all people, would die- and not even from the deadly coronavirus that’s killed so many this year. The news that he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 was devastating to learn. It was a shock not only to the general public, but also Boseman’s frequent collaborators. 


However, despite how tragic his death and illness was, it’s important to contextualize all of that with his attitude. Despite having cancer, he persevered and continued to star in films, even as it surely got harder and harder to do so. He never brought his illness up to anyone outside of his friends and family, because he didn’t want pity. He wanted to entertain people, and entertain them he did. He will also continue to do so, even if it’s only in one new film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, according to an October 22 article in People magazine. It seemed that he not only played a hero, but embodied one himself.