Chadwick Boseman

Over the weekend, actor Chadwick Boseman passed away at the age of 43 after a 4 year battle with colon cancer. He is most known for starring as King T’Challa in the Marvel blockbuster hit, Black Panther. He also played James Brown, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall in their respective biopics. 2020 has been relentless, a pandemic, Kobe Bryant tragically passing away, heightened political tensions, it’s just blow after blow and it’s been tough. This one though, this one hurt. Maybe it’s because it’s the second person, much like Kobe, being taken from us far before they should’ve been. The thing I really took away with his passing is that he chose not to disclose that he was fighting cancer, and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to approach it, but normally, especially with people with stature, it’s disclosed, which made his death that much more shocking. His family disclosed that he had filmed 3 different movies since 2016, all of which took place during his bout with cancer, again with no one knowing aside from his family. There were a few clips floating around, that now in retrospect hit much deeper because you know what he was fighting internally. One is him visiting kids who were battling cancer in the hospital who were fans of Black Panther and the other was him speaking on a relationship he had built with a few kids who were battling cancer. At the time when these clips were surfacing it just seemed like a good man who cared, but now knowing the full story it’s just almost unfathomable how he had not only the physical bandwidth but also the emotional bandwidth to be able to carry that out and continue to be a beacon of hope and inspiration for young kids and especially young black kids who got to see someone who looked like them be the star in a Marvel movie that became one of the most successful movies of all time. I get that I don’t know Chadwick Boseman, I only know him through movies and clips I see on the internet, the relationship is a one way street, but that’s what I, and other people who enjoyed his work signed up for. I don’t think that means I can’t be saddened by his loss and take inspiration from how he lived his final years. I hope I am able to carry myself as strong and dignified as he was whenever that time comes for me. Two takeaways from this. Reach out to people you care about and let them know you care about them, it’s a quick easy thing to do, and it’s unfortunate people passing serves as a reminder that it should be done more. The other is get screened for cancer, and specifically colon cancer early and often, if you think you’re old enough to be screened you probably are, it can be treated if caught early enough. Rest in peace Chadwick Boseman, thank you for being strong and a source of inspiration for kids around the world when you didn’t have to be. Aaron J. Boma 2016 ISU Grad