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Chadwick Boseman Passes Away at 43 after Four Year Battle with Cancer


Chadwick Boseman—best known for his role as T’Challa in Marvel’s Black Panther and Avenger series—has died after a four-year battle with colon cancer.

I don’t usually post about celebrity deaths unless they have something directly to do with psychology. While Boseman’s cause of death isn’t technically psychology-related, the aftermath of his loss is.  From his masterful portrayals of iconic African American historical figures like Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall to his groundbreaking role as the first Black Superhero T’Challa in Black Panther to the fact that he stared in 10 movies while battling a debilitating illness, Chadwick Boseman was a superhero in every sense of the word.

I still remember my son’s excitement when Black Panther was announced and all of the little black and brown boys who excitedly dressed as T’Challa the year Black Panther first came out. For the first time, they got to see a hero that looked like themselves on the big screen. Not a side character, not a tech guy, not Iron Man’s interchangeable black sidekick… but the hero of his own story. It was an incredibly big deal.

The role carried a lot of weight beyond just inspiring young black boys. Many viewed a black-led superhero film as a gamble at best. Based on the reaction to Halle Barry’s Catwoman movie, if the film didn’t perform well in the Box Office, it would have probably been another 14 years before Hollywood would greenlight another Black-led superhero film.

As Black Panther smashed box office records, it also smashed tired Hollywood tropes such as “White audiences won’t respond to Black people in that role” and the more recent copout “Blacks don’t sell in Asian Markets.” The success of Black Panther wasn’t just groundbreaking, it was barrier-breaking.

Soon the world was greeted with its first Pac-Islander superhero with the casting of Jason Mamoa as Aquaman. Next came the greenlighting of the first Asian American superhero movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings starring Simu Liu. There’s even talk of a live-Action Miles Morales Spiderman!

Boseman will not only be remembered for the lasting impact of his roles, but also his charitable heart. From donating hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to Indiana area food banks in 2017 to giving 100,000 dollars to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund in 2019 and the many other charitable organizations that Boseman has contributed to before and since his incredible success in the industry.

His last public act was donating 4.2 million dollars towards medical supplies to help fight COVID 19 early in the pandemic. I cannot emphasize this enough, Boseman was a true-life superhero and he will be missed. #WakandaForever #RIPChadWick

 

 

Okay… I can’t have the last image of Chadwick in this article be of him near the end of his cancer battle, so here is a clip of a hilarious sketch of him on SNL.

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