The legacy of Chadwick Boseman

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Ernest Samuel | Volunteer Writer

Ernest Samuel, Volunteer Writer

On Aug. 28, 43-year-old Chadwick Boseman, an American actor, died from stage four colon cancer. News of his death shocked the world. His death seemed sudden to his fans after he concealed his illness for years.

Chadwick Boseman played strong-willed, independent and good-hearted characters who never gave up or took no for an answer. By working hard and staying true to themselves, the characters he portrayed were able to majorly impact the world.

Each character is someone I personally would look up to and take advice from. Jackie Robinson in “42,” James Brown in “Get on Up,” Thurgood Marshall in “Marshall,” and T’Challa in “Black Panther,” all taught me to be proud in the color of my skin. He taught me that regardless of the color of my skin, I can do anything.

Through his portrayal of Black Panther, Boseman gave young, black children someone too look up to. He provided them with an example of what they could be. 

Towards the end of movie “Black Panther,” Boseman’s character travels to Los Angeles and becomes a role model for the young men playing in the streets. 

Like many young African American men, they do not have strong role models within their lives. T’Challa fulfilled that role both on and off screen. He will continue to fill this role for years to come, even after his passing.

While not portraying a character, Boseman visited children hospitals. He did this while the world admired him for all the good he had within his heart. If they had only known that he was fighting his own illness silently. 

Boseman did not make his cancer known to the public because he did not want to be the center of attention. With so much hurt and suffering in the world, he chose to withhold his personal ailments so that he could make the world a better place than when he arrived. 

Boseman had already made an impact in the world before his passing. He gave the world something bigger than himself. He gave us the gift of his movies. His characters are bigger than us and bigger than Boseman as well. 

They show us and will continue to show us that even though African Americans have been systematically oppressed and discriminated against in the past, does not mean they have to be now. 

He showed the world that even though Black men have been overlooked within our country’s history, they will not be going forward. Boseman in the movie “42,” showed the world that the color of one’s skin does not make them any less valuable or talented. It is what is within us.

This is the legacy that Boseman leaves behind.  

In “Get on up,” he did not just play an artist. He was an artist. He did not just play an exciting athlete in “42.”. He really was one. He did not just play a prominent advocate for racial equality in “Marshall,” but he believed in those ideals and through that portrayal, every generation to come will know them too. He did not just play a superhero in “Black Panther,” but he truly was one. 

While filming “Black Panther,” back in 2016, Boseman became a superhero to the world while battling cancer. He knew that the world needed a strong, Black role model and he gave us so much more than that. 

Boseman once said that “You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.”

Life is short, regardless of whether you are ill nor not. When the world gives us opportunities to make a lasting impact and to leave your mark, we should take it.

Life has a way of knocking us down when we get close to the top. We feel the pressure of time on our shoulders every day.

Therefore, we must look to our role models and get back up when the world knocks us down. We have legacies to create. 

Boseman created a legacy that will outstand the test of time. He looks down on the world know admiration of what he left behind and what he helped his fans do.