The Legacy of a King

On August 28th, forty-three-year-old Chadwick Boseman died after a four-year struggle against colon cancer.

Cate Carlson, Reporter

On August 28th, forty-three-year-old Chadwick Boseman died after a four-year struggle against colon cancer. After he was diagnosed, Boseman went on to star in the Marvel film Black Panther, the first major African-American superhero. He propelled Hollywood representation for people of color through his most famous roles of baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42, singer-songwriter James Brown in Get On Up, and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, although he has been representing strong Black characters since the beginning of his acting career. 

Daniela Maldonado, a freshman and a fan of Chadwick Boseman, comments on his death. 

 “He was definitely one of the bigger influences in the black community, and he was looked up to by a lot of people, a lot of young people,” said Maldonado. 

Boseman purposefully chose roles of powerful Black characters because he knew how important representation is to the children watching Hollywood movies that are usually ‘whitewashed.’ In response to why he didn’t agree to act in a movie as a slave opposite Tessa Thompson, he said, “I do not want to perpetuate slavery,” and “we’re not going to keep perpetuating the stereotypes.” Thompson and Boseman both went on to roles in the Marvel universe as honorable superheroes.  

Vasty Ortiz, a junior, explains how representation in the media is important to her. 

 “I’ve only had white, blonde Barbie dolls, and that’s really why representation is important, especially for younger audiences, because I’ve never seen myself as a barbie doctor when my friends could,” said Ortiz. 

Maria Pettersen, a former exchange student and alumni, comments on Black representation in media. 

“Representation of the black community is key right now, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement fighting a history of racism. Because representation is important; because people are dying,” said Pettersen.

Boseman’s roles have become a symbol to the Black Lives Matter movement in America shown by a profusion of fans posting videos in remembrance of Boseman and his contributions to the black community with the hashtag #WakandaForever. Ortiz notes how careful Boseman was in ceasing stereotypes even off of the camera, without ramifications. 

 “He was a fighter for sure. But, I think he didn’t tell anyone about his colon cancer because black people already have this stereotype of being loud or obnoxious and he wanted to be the example of humility that people could point to when racist people made stereotypical judgments. The All Lives Matter movement says Black people just aren’t trying hard enough, and Boseman is a clear cut example of ‘yes, they are,” said Ortiz

Maldonado made a similar point.

 “He always was very humble and he always had something positive to say. The way he influenced the Black Lives Matter movement is by just acting inspirational through his roles and the way he carried himself,” said Maldonado. 

After forty-three years, Boseman, with a strict moral code and a vision for the future, has proven to be an inspiration for generations to come.