Chadwick Boseman: A Superhero, In And Out Of Costume

It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman….” The tweet began, and the world stood still.

It was the early hours of Saturday, 29th August 2020. And since then, with every tribute pouring in from all over the world, this tragedy is further validated. Chadwick Boseman, the man we remember fondly as King T’challa, the Black Panther, is gone.

According to the report from his family, Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in 2016. Four years and many movie blockbusters later, we lose the Black Panther star to complications from cancer’s advanced stage (IV).

More shocking than the news of his death is the fact that the world was not privy to his cancer diagnosis. “He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side.”

Yet, as we recount the life story of Chadwick Boseman, we do so in gratitude of the many blessings that this King brought us.

Early Years



Chadwick Aaron Boseman was born and raised in South Carolina to African-Amerian parents. In a 2018 interview, he revealed that a DNA testing traced his roots to the Krio people from Sierra Leone, Yoruba people from Nigeria and Limba people from Sierra Leone.

In his junior year at T.L Hanna High School, Boseman wrote his first play, Crossroads, and staged it to commemorate the murder of a classmate. He would later go on to attend college at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Directing. One of his teachers turned mentor, Phylicia Rashad, helped raise funds to further his education. Because of this, Boseman was able to attend the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in London.

Chadwick Boseman’s first dream was to write and direct. Learning how to act was initially a means to relate better with actors. From London, he returned to the U.S where he attended the New York City’s Digital Film Academy and developed all three skills (writing, directing, and acting).


chadwick-boseman-42The career journey of the Black Panther star began officially in 2008 when he moved to Los Angeles. After starring in episodes of popular TV series like Law & Order, ER, and Lincoln Heights, he made his first big break in 2013 with 42. Here, he portrayed baseball pioneer and star, Jackie Robinson. When he auditioned for the role, he had been directing an off-Broadway play in East Village where he considered ditching acting for a full-time career in directing.

However, the director of 42 singled him out to portray the iconic role, one that turned out to be immensely successful. A turning point in Boseman’s career.

Although he was famous for acting, he continued writing and directing plays. One of his scripts for Deep Azure, performed at the Congo Square Theatre Company in Chicago, was nominated in a 2006 Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work.


You may remember Chadwick Boseman from movies like Get on up and Gods of Egypt, but he made an official breakthrough when he joined Marvel’s cinematic universe. We were first introduced to him as Prince T’challa in Captain America: Civil War, before Black Panther, where he owned the character in one of the most significant figures in Marvel’s (and Black) history. He also featured in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, both globally-acclaimed successes from Marvel.

In 2019, the Black Panther star joined the cast of a Netflix war drama film, Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee. On choosing Boseman for the role, Lee said, “This character is heroic; he’s a superhero. Who do we cast? We cast Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and we cast T’Challa.”

The Chadwick Boseman 


For all the fame that the Black Panther movie brought him, Chadwick Boseman lived a simple life. Watching his interviews, you instantly get a sense that this was a man who did not care much for the spotlight. He often spoke glowingly about his co-stars on the Marvel blockbusters, like the big brother who looked after everyone else.

There was an effortless beauty in the way that he carried himself, and it shone through in everything Boseman did. His lopsided smile, warmth, humour, and personality. Here was a star who felt like a friend and at the same time, a huge inspiration.

Chadwick Boseman lived a life committed to spreading love, laughter, and hope in the world. What we didn’t know was that while we cheered our superhero on screen, he fought real battles in private. We didn’t know that the Black Hero who gifted us these amazing films wasn’t just acting a script. He was a true hero.

What Black Panther Meant To The Community


Black Panther is a legacy to the African community for a lot of reasons. For the first time in history, an African superhero got his own movie. This powerful character, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, will continue to inspire Black people in generations to come.

Set in the fictional city of Wakanda in Africa, the world watched Boseman embrace the role of King T’challa, The Black Panther.

At first, Marvel did not see a need for the character to have an African accent but he pushed back.

Chadwick-Boseman-Black Panther“If we lose this right now, what else are we gonna throw away for the sake of making people feel comfortable?” He asked. And, thus, he breathed life and passion into this unforgettable role, including learning an African accent.

All over the world, cinema halls filled out as people converged to experience the first African superhero film. #WakandaForever trended heavily on social media’s streets, and we will always remember Boseman as its pioneer.

Fight To The Finish


In 2016, the same year that he joined Marvel’s cinematic universe, Chadwick Boseman was diagnosed with stage III Colon cancer. He never divulged this news to the public, filming while undergoing multiple surgeries and chemotherapy sessions.

In this time, the star suffered a drastic weight loss that raised eyebrows among fans. While some assumed it was intended to fit a new role, most mocked his sickly appearance. We didn’t know that our favourite African superhero was declining in the open from battles he suffered in private.

Yet, he continued to work, with movies including Marshall, Da 5 Bloods, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and others.

On August 28th 2020, he suffered complications due to colon cancer and died in his home at 43, surrounded by the people he loved the most.

chadwick-tributeWe remember Chadwick Boseman as a King and a Force for Inspiration. He championed the Black identity both on and off-screen, speaking actively against racism and on Black representation. He did this all with dignity and passion, in spite of his illness. A hero in and out of costume, we will forever echo a famous line from Black Panther, “Long Live The King!”

Watch this inspiring video from Chadwick Boseman here:

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