The death of Chadwick Boseman has hit me hard, and I am honestly still in shock. I woke up around 3:00 am (GMT) and out of habit, decided to scroll through Twitter. The first tweet I saw said Chadwick had passed away, but in disbelief, I decided to scroll further only for my worst fears to be confirmed. The legend, the hero, the inspiration, and the rolemodel is no more. Unable to properly process my emotions, I have turned to the best way I know how to channel them: writing.
Like many people, I first got to know Chadwick Boseman through the movie, “Black Panther.” I still remember the first time I watched the film as if it happened a few seconds ago. I was in boarding school at the time, and almost everybody in the school wanted to watch the movie but because we were in school, going for the premiere at the cinema would not have been possible. Then, as if it was too good to be true, it was announced that for that Saturday’s entertainment night, Silverbird Cinemas (one of the biggest cinemas in Ghana) would be coming to our school for a giant screening. The immediate excitement that filled the room when the announcement was made was unforgettable. Anticipation began to build towards the day, and we all knew that this was going to be one of the most attended entertainment nights ever.
Fast-forward and the awaited day arrives. Unlike other nights of entertainment, everyone wanted to be the first in the hall so that they had a good spot to watch the movie. Even teachers came to the school (they didn’t come to school on Saturday) and brought their children as well. I had reserved seats (yes, my roommates and I paid to have seats on the stage so that we got a better view) and with a few minutes to the start of the movie, I was anxiously pacing in my room upstairs. I had no idea what to wear! What does one wear to a Marvel movie with a predominantly black cast? What does one wear to a Marvel movie which was going to put a spotlight on the black community? What does one wear to a Marvel movie which had made the hearts of many blacks swell with pride? After different outfit changes, I took a piece of African cloth and twisted it and made it into a halter neck top. I wore my Afro out because it seemed like the blackest thing to do. Wearing a floor-length wine skirt to match my red DIY African print top, my roommates and I left the room and hurried to the hall to ensure we did not miss even one minute of the movie.
After the movie, I remember the excitement myself, and one of my roommates felt. We went around doing the Wakanda forever greeting, and the excitement in the air was tangible. We took pictures afterwards since we both were wearing African print clothes and it was a night I would never forget. Black excellence was at its peak.
After that, I began to watch several interviews of Chadwick Boseman, and I began to admire him apart from his role in Black Panther. His humility shined through. His intelligence was admirable. His selfless giving back to society was inspirational. His sense of humour had me smiling like a fool whenever I watched him.
Chadwick was not just an actor. He was a role model for blacks around the world. He reminded us what it meant to be the embodiment of black pride. Black children could watch their favourite movies and see a man that looked like them. That representation was a step in the right direction for the black community. Chadwick was motivational, and in many speeches he gave, he believed in purpose and living out one’s purpose. I may not have known Chadwick personally, but from just the screen, he was able to exude enough positive traits and talent to make him legendary. I can’t try to imagine how his last moments on Earth were, but I do know this: You may be gone Chadwick, but your name is not. Your presence was felt, and your absence is felt even harder. For all those you inspired, we promise, it would not be in vain and Chadwick, your legacy would live on to tell your story.
Rest in power Chadwick Boseman.