On August 28th, 2020, Chadwick Boseman’s Twitter account announced that he had died at the age of 43. He passed away at home following a four-year battle with colon cancer, surrounded by his family.
Boseman leaves behind a legacy of significant roles and acts of heroism on and off-screen. His continued success has shown black audiences everywhere there is a place for their stories and faces in Hollywood. His role as Black Panther alone has inspired countless numbers of minority cosplayers to portray characters that look exactly like them. And Boseman uplifted these underrepresented audiences by constantly choosing roles that highlighted black history and beauty.
Boseman rose to fame by playing roles that brought attention to black icons and history, such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice in Marshall, James Brown in Get on Up and played the barrier-breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42. After a run of biographical roles, Boseman became the live-action version of Black Panther in Marvel Cinematic Universe in Black Panther, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. His role not only drew immense praise from fans, but the solo film based around the Black hero became the first superhero movie in history to be nominated for Best Picture.
While Boseman carved out his legacy in Hollywood, he also made a point to enrich and uplift his community. He bought out a screening of Black Panther so that 312 kids could see it for free, visited with terminally ill children, and dedicated one of his last tweets to encouraging everyone to vote. The actor strived to fight injustice and inequality while he secretly battled cancer.
Despite being diagnosed in 2016, Boseman appeared in three action-heavy Marvel films, Spike Lee’s Da Five Bloods, and the upcoming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. And throughout all of those films, Boseman never let audiences see his struggles with health.
When Boseman first appeared as Black Panther he said, “In my culture, Death is not the end.” After seeing the countless number of emotional and heartfelt tributes of love and appreciation that his family, his c0-workers and fans have left behind in the wake of his passing, I know for certain that he was right.
Rest in Power, Chadwick Boseman. Wakanda and your legacy forever.