The African Legend Lives on!
CHADWICK BOSEMAN. -John B. Oyaro
Black Panther did what no Marvel movie franchise had ever done before — it inspired, energized, and filled Africans with pride. It portrayed what most optimistic and ambitious people imagined of Africa — A continent that reaps from its resources, technologically advanced, marveled at by the rest of the world, and whose States are led by leaders driven by the desire to focus on the right and not just the possible.
At the center of the movie Franchise that became the fourth-highest grossing movie in the domestic-box office, was King Tchalla — acted by Chadwick Boseman. As captured in The Atlantic, Boseman’s humanity is what made the movie work;
…rooted in Boseman’s gravitas, is his ability to project authority and power. T’Challa is a purposefully idealized figure, a sensitive and just warrior who struggles courageously with the burden of leading an entire nation. The movie wouldn’t work without the innate humanity he gives T’Challa, even as he bounds into battle in a high-tech suit.
It was the humanity of King Tchalla that resonated with most Africans who flocked cinemas in Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Lagos. Finally, there was a billion-dollar film for the world to see that spoke to their wildest imagination and made them feel appreciated and powerful. More so, King Tchalla’s embodied what young people across the continent envisioned in a leader — sensitive and just and courageously struggling to lead the right way.
Boseman saw the impact the movie had, especially on young black children across the world, and he decided to fit in the role of Superhero seamlessly. He would on countless occasions do the famous “Wakanda sign”. His humility, calm, precision, and Zen-temperament made him handle fame with a big heart.
Just like King Tchalla, Boseman struggled courageously with a burden of his own that the world didn’t know about — his fight with Colon cancer. It's mind-blowing to picture how he managed to continue with his role as Black Panther, after being diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. Thus it was befitting that in 2018 in his Howard Commencement speech he reminded the graduates what mattered the most in life;
Purpose crosses discipline; it is the reason you are on the planet in this particular point in history — Your very existence is wrapped up in things you are here to fulfill.
Boseman’s existence was wrapped up in things that he courageously fulfilled. His acting role in Jackie Robinson, the African-American who in 1947 ended segregation in Baseball by being a member of the Dodgers, inspired many, and as captured by Rachel Robinson, Boseman at best captured Jack’s quiet dignity even when he was under attack.
Coincidentally, Boseman died the same day as Jackie Robinson Day. And even though both men broke barriers that made black people across the world proud, they both died at a time when black people have had to face injustice and exclusion. However, both Boseman and Jackie remind us that an abiding faith in God, discipline, and mostly quiet dignity under attack could make us rise out of any demise.
Rest in Power African Legend! Wakanda Forever!