There aren’t many actors in the world who cam claim to have played as many heroes and influenced as many lives as the late Chadwick Boseman. Sure, he was King T’Challa. But before that, he was Jackie Robinson, the first Black Baseball player to play in MLB, when segregation was at its peak.
But it isn’t just these roles that made him the hero he was. Boseman was a also a hero in real life. He personified strength, courage and charity among other immortal qualities that made him a true king.
1. Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. Which means he was shooting for Black Panther, Infinity War, Endgame, 21 Bridges, Da 5 Bloods and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom while battling the illness.
2. On the 15th of April, 2015, Jackie Robinson day, the actor donated $4.2 milion in PPE to hospitals that service the African American Communities who have been hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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I am hearing stories of desperation from people all over the country, and we know our communities are suffering the most and urgently need help. Celebrating #JackieRobinsonDay with the launch of Thomas Tull’s #Operation42, a donation of 4.2 million dollars in personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals that service the African American Communities who have been hit the hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you, Jackie, for refusing to accept the world as it is, for showing us that we can make a difference.
3. While he was shooting for Black Panther, he was also constantly in touch with two kids, Ian and Taylor, who were suffering from terminal cancer. Their parents told him that they were just holding on for the film to release.
4. Boseman, has taken on the lives of some of the biggest influencers on African-American history- Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013), James Brown in Get On Up (2014) and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017).
5. Boseman bought out a screening of Black Panther at the Amstar Stadium 14 theater in his hometown in South Carolina for underprivileged kids.
6. In 2018, he gave his MTV Award for playing a superhero to a real hero, James Shaw Jr. who took a bullet while stopping the gunman in a deadly shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee.
7. He regularly took on Hollywood questioning the lack of roles for people of colour, asking them why there could only be so few opportunities for black people.
It’s possible for there to be a Chris Pine, or a Chris Evans and Chris O’Donnell and a Chris Hemsworth and all the other Chrises, but it can only be one of us at a time? … With us, it’s like we have to kill each other before we get there.
8. He was never afraid to talk about his experience with racism growing up in Anderson,South Carolina, where confederate flags are waved to this day.
Going to high school, I’d see Confederate flags on trucks…. I know what it’s like to be a kid at an ice-cream shop when some little white kid calls you ‘n****r’, but your parents tell you to calm down because they know it could blow up. We even had trucks try to run us off the road.
9. He was meeting and interacting with young fans, for whom he was the first superhero they truly saw themselves in, all while he was battling for his life himself.
Chadwick Boseman was a beacon of light to people across the globe. His role in Black Panther was groundbreaking and iconic. For many black children, he was the first major superhero they could identify with. Rest in power to a genuine, virtuous hero. Wakanda forever and always. pic.twitter.com/7TJvlwvxKV— Rachel (@princesspapes) August 29, 2020
Chadwick you are one of my hero’s!I loved watching 42 & Get on Up but it was Black Panther that changed my life.Seeing a black superhero & all the beautiful black brothers & sisters got me so excited!I’ll always remember you & you’ll always be King T’Challa #wakandaforever 🕊 pic.twitter.com/AehJAu487u— Miles Brown (@MilesBrown) August 29, 2020
10. He was a kind man, who always found time for his fans.
I still remember him politely declining my selfie, me turning to walk away, him changing his mind, and me running right back excited AF lol. That bit of kindness made a great day even sweeter & is something I’ll never forget ❤️ https://t.co/VJ7aa5araF— ♍️ (@jasnikki_) August 29, 2020
11. Marvel wasn’t originally going to use African accents in the Black Panther movie. The studio was unsure how audiences would react to it. But Boseman insisted stating that African culture was such a huge part of the film and they shouldn’t change that just to make some people comfortable.
Boseman’s legacy will undoubtedly be the fact that he’s inspired million of children of colour everywhere around the world into believing that they too can be heroes.