On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman, known for his role as T’Challa in Black Panther and Jackie Robinson in the movie 42, passed away after a four year private battle with colon cancer. The death of a celebrity can be brutal, especially when they’ve positively impacted creative spaces. Let us take a look at some of the roles Chadwick Boseman played and the impact he had on Hollywood.
42 is a film based on Black baseball player Jackie Robinson. Chadwick Boseman received praise for his performance in his first Hollywood feature. Jackie Robinson’s wife, who was a crucial part of the production, made sure that the legend wasn’t reduced to stereotypes and portrayed authentically.
Get On Up
Get On Up is a biographical film based on the life of James Brown. Chadwick Boseman received excellent reviews for his portrayal of the late musician. Though the film was criticized for skimping out on some facts, Chadwick Boseman brought the essence of James Brown back to life through his performance, reminding a younger generation of the type of man James Brown was.
This is probably one of the most influential roles and movies that Chadwick Boseman has been a part of. The director of Black panter, Ryan Coogler, penned an open letter on his experience working with Boseman and his contribution to the film. Accurate representation was an essential part of the film, and Boseman ensured that it was top of mind from the start. Chadwick Boseman learned Xhosa for the role and ensured that King T’Challa had an authentic accent that hadn’t been tainted by the West. The movie acted as an inspiration with individuals showing up to theatres in authentic African attire and embracing their culture.
It may be difficult to grasp why representation is essential, especially if you see people who look and act like you in the media all the time. Our world is not black and white, and we have diverse groups of people all over the globe with intersectional identities. Chadwick Boseman’s role in all of these films, especially Black Panther, allowed individuals to be seen and understood.
What are your favourite Chadwick Boseman moment’s, and why is representation important to you?