Remembering ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman, star of the 2018 Marvel film “Black Panther,” died of colon cancer Aug. 28. Boseman was a vocal proponent of young people exercising their voting rights and creating positive change. (Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore | Wikimedia Commons)
By Jennifer Torres

The days of COVID-19 have been a roller coaster where every day we seem to lose another legend.

  Chadwick Boseman, the actor who played Black American icons ranging from Jackie Robinson to Marvel’s inspirational Black Panther, died of colon cancer Aug. 29. He was 43.

Boseman battled colon cancer since 2016 and died at home with his wife and family by his side, according to a statement posted on his twitter account that night. 

With his role as King T’Challa in the off the charts film “Black Panther,” he became a global icon and an inspiring symbol of Black power. Boseman brought the character to life, the Twitter statement said.

“As Black Panther, he was also a superhero to many,” Martin Luther King III tweeted Aug. 28. “Despite his 4 year long battle with cancer, he kept fighting and he kept inspiring us. He will be missed.” 

Even the possible future president of the United States has joined in praising the late icon.

“He inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even super heroes” , Joe Biden tweeted Aug 28.

Boseman is considered a great role model by people of color in the community. 

Keyana Michaels, 21, a history major at San Bernardino Valley College, said her heart was shattered when she heard the news of Boseman’s death. 

“He really was such a legend and inspiration to children and adults,” Michaels said. “He really brought his character to life and motivated others to be whatever they wanted to be.”

Tyler Mayberry, 25, of Upland, described Boseman as the inspiration needed by the African American community.

“When Black Panther first came out that was really great news for all of us because we have never seen anything like this,” Mayberry said. “It made me feel like the media was finally catering to me and my kind of people.”

Mayberry said older people were intrigued and children had a superhero to look up to.

“He was for the people and our culture,” Mayberry said. “He had the kids dressing up as him for halloween in 2018. It was something that really made me happy because representation is super important to children of color and he really did something for them.”

Boseman was outspoken on the importance of young people showing up during elections.

“All that 70 million group of young people who will come out and vote— I believe in you,” Boseman said during a public service announcement November 2018. “ I think you can turn our nation around. You can make it live up to what it is supposed to do.”    

The Black Panther star argued that the youth are not only the future, but the present as well and that they represent what the country should be. He also encouraged young people to vote for whoever they want to and for what they believe in.

“I believe the majority of you can see what’s actually happening and you want things to change,” Boseman said. “So I say all that to say, you know, thank you in advance for your input and the victory that is to come.”