Chadwick Boseman: fit to play a king

Mark Armendariz-Gonzales, Reporter

Actor Chadwick Boseman tragically died, on Aug. 28, after a long battle with cancer.
Boseman died quietly in his Los Angeles home with his family by his side as he suffered from stage IV colon cancer. Boseman kept his sickness a secret from the public with only close family and friends knowing about it.

Boseman is survived by his parents, Leroy and Carolyn Boseman, and his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward. He was only 43 years old at the time of his death.

Although Boseman’s acting career was cut short, there is no doubt he left behind a legacy.

He attended Howard University where he studied and got a bachelor’s degree in directing. Later, in his career, Boseman got the honor of being the speaker at the commencement ceremony for Howard University.

After college, Boseman decided to pursue acting and starred in minor and guest roles throughout the 2000s in such shows as “Law & Order” and “ER.” Boseman’s first main role was on the 2010 show “Persons Unknown.”

Boseman eventually made the leap to feature in films, and after having minor roles in a few films, he was cast in a role that would give him his big break. Boseman was cast in the lead role of “Jackie Robinson” in the 2013 film “42.”

The film gave Boseman a chance to display his acting range and that he was leading man status.
The film ended up being a success and critics raved about Boseman’s performance as the first professional African American baseball player.

With the success of “42,” Boseman was labeled as one of the best upcoming actors, and for his next big project, he chose to show even more depth to his acting. Boseman was cast in the 2014 film “Get on Up” where he portrayed legendary singer “James Brown.”

Not only did this role require Boseman to display his comedic and serious side, but he also learned to sing and dance like the famed singer. The film turned out to be a hit, and Boseman went from one of the best upcoming actors to one of the best actors in the business.

Boseman’s next role would turn out to be his most famous one of all. He was cast as “King T’Challa” in the 2018 film “Black Panther.”

Boseman was thrilled to star in this film, not because it was his first huge blockbuster film, but for another reason. “Black Panther” would be the first-ever superhero film with a predominantly African American cast.

“This experience is an opening for people’s consciousness. Their boundaries should be shaken and moved. There’s a hero here that I hope people grow to love,” Chadwick Boseman said, in an interview with USA Today.

This meant a lot to Boseman as he wanted kids of all races to see people who looked like them portrayed as heroes on the big screen. He even considered this to be more impactful than any role he had before.

“I hesitate to say this is bigger – those are real historical figures and moments, but what this is, it’s a cultural moment that is happening right now. We are not remembering breaking the color barrier or how funk was created. We are living this,” Boseman said.

The film was an extreme success and is the highest-grossing solo Marvel film. Sadly, during the filming of “Black Panther” was when Boseman found out he had colon cancer. As he was training and shooting the film, he was also getting treatment for his illness.

As Boseman battled his sickness over the next few years, he continued to star in films such as “21 Bridges” and “Avengers: Endgame.” Although Boseman has died, his roles will leave an everlasting impact on cinema.

“It’s a tough loss. He had that power in his art to define a generation. He is that generation-defining actor,” said friend and Avengers costar Chris Evans, in an interview with Vanity Fair.

Boseman did finish filming a final project before his death. He will star in the film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which will be released later this year on Netflix.