• Cole Feix

A Glimpse of a Better World: Chadwick Boseman and Celebrity Deaths


Chadwick Boseman, 2017 | Photo: Gage Skidmore

The world is mourning the loss of actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away this week after a four year battle with cancer. Boseman is best known for his role as King T’Challa in Black Panther, but also played Jackie Robinson in 42, and Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to be appointed to the Supreme Court in Marshall. He took acting classes from The Cosby Show’s Phylicia Rashad at Howard University and used his craft to honor heroes of the past and present.


Why do we mourn celebrity deaths? The tribute tweeted from Boseman’s account confirming his death is now the most-liked tweet ever on the platform with over 7 million likes. Boseman’s roles resonated with the world, from children to adults, from America to the horn of Africa where Black Panther was set.


Bloomberg ran the headline, “Chadwick Boseman Offers a Glimpse of a Better Hollywood.” Boseman is an emblem of a clearer moral universe than the one we live in. In the Black Panther, he was the king of Wakanda, a superhero who not only elevated an African culture beyond Silicon Valley’s wildest dreams but he overcame tribalism and ethnic hatred, fought against a well-defined enemy, and stood up for his people.


Boseman reminds us how important it is to have heroes. He played these exemplary characters well, and his personal life seems to have been aligned with the virtues he portrayed on screen. Like so many great actors, Chadwick Boseman briefly transported us from the gritty and confusing world we live in to a world where truth wins out, right is stronger than wrong, and what we do for a just cause matters in the end.


Cole Feix is the founder and president of So We Speak. Follow him on Twitter, @cfeix7.


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