A Public and Private Legend: Chadwick Boseman

The late Chadwick Boseman was named Entertainment Weekly’s 2020 Entertainer of the Year. Though Boseman’s life was cut short from his battle with colon cancer, he was a legend in his own right from the people and fans that supported him.

‘I first saw him on this TV show called Lincoln Heights,’ says writer Angie Thomas. ‘I remember being in awe of his talent even then, when he was not a starring character. Every time he came on screen, his presence was felt. I had a feeling I’d be seeing more of this guy.’

Throughout Boseman’s career, he portrayed well-known black male figures such as Jackie Robinson in his breakthrough role in the movie 43, Thurgood Marshall in Marshall, and James Brown in Get On Up.

Even in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe, he portrayed and originated the role of King T’Challa in Black Panther. Angie Thomas says that in each of his roles, ‘You could see his loving, his kindness, his gentleness, his intelligence in every role — everything that’s good about him.’

Image via The New York Times


Outside of his on-screen work, Boseman was a down to earth, humble person who could connect with people outside of the film industry. While filming Get On Up in Mississippi, he would visit small town places without being “Chadwick Boseman.” He was just another person in the crowd with the general public, which  was refreshing and genuine. This helped him to bring his characters to life through his own empathy and understanding of people. By being his authentic self, he achieved longevity without the need to ask for it.

‘I hope he’s remembered for more than Black Panther, because it would be unfair to limit him to that role. I hope he’s remembered for his passion and dedication. I hope the grace that he walked with finds its way to all of us in some form or another. I hope he’s remembered for the gift that he was.’

Featured Image via Bookstr