Social media can be a fun place to hang out and waste time, but only a fool would depend on it as a real source of truth and the news. So when I saw on Twitter that Chadwick Boseman had died of pancreatic cancer, I just knew that it was another one of those crazy internet hoaxes. But then — a Breaking News announcement!
How can that be true?
During his short, but memorable acting career, Chadwick Boseman portrayed not only a superhero, he also played some of the most iconic African American legends.
Since his death on August 28, 2020, there has been lots of praise for Chadwick Boseman. But he is was so much more.
He is the Black Panther.
He is Thurgood Marshall.
He is James Brown.
Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights of the brilliant career of Chadwick Boseman.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Along with Viola Davis as the Mother of the Blues, Ma Rainey, Chadwick stars as Levee, the ambitious and volatile horn player. Based on the August Wilson play, the movie follows a recording session with Ma Raine and her band on a hot summer day in 1920.s Chicago. As tension rise between the music producers, they also rise between the band members.
Levee is a talented musician with lots of plans for his future. But as the day goes on anger erupts and we see Levee on an emotional rollercoaster ride.
Chadwick’a amazing performance that has won him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. Available in Netflix
Black Panther and the Marvel Universe
Chadwick Boseman burst into the Marvel Universe as Prince T’Challa. the King of the fictional country, Wakanda. T’Challa is the newest in a long line of the kings of an African nation never ravaged by the slave trade, colonization, or wars with outside nations.
From his first appearance as T’Challa in Captain America: Civil Wars to the Black Panther, and Avengers: Infinity War, Chadwick had the bearing, the cool swagger of royalty, and the catlike grace of a modern superhero. Available on Disney Plus
Get on Up!
My older cousin, Ray was a big fan of James Brown. He had all of Brown’s records, styled his hair like James Brown, and dressed like James Brown. I was a kid and I would much rather listened to Motown and the Jackson 5. James Brown was not for me.
It was not until I was older and saw Chadwick Boseman in Get on Up did I develop an appreciation for James Brown’s music.
Director, Tate Taylor takes us from Brown’s troubled childhood in the backwoods of Georgia with his abusive father, Joe (Lennie James). Abandoned by his mother Susie (Viola Davis) and left to live at his Aunt Honey’s brothel, James Brown’s journey goes from a short prison sentence to joining Bobby Byrd’s band, The Famous Flames to becoming the “Godfather of Soul” and “Soul Brother #1”.
James Brown was always his own man, with a rhythm and a passion for a style of music that was uniquely his own. His passions were what got him in trouble.
Chadwick Boseman doesn’t look anything like James Brown. But he perfectly captures the singer’s graveling voice, his dance movies, the way James Brown walked, and his essence.
Get on Up has powerful performances from Viola Davis as Brown’s mother and Nelsan Ellis as sideman, Bobbie Byrd. Look for real-life musicians Jill Scott, Aloe Blacc, and The Roots’ Tariq Trotter to make appearances. Available in Netflix
In the mid-1940’s baseball player, Jackie Robinson is recruited by Commissioner, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) to a Major league team. Before Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and the Civil Rights Movement, Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in the all-white, Major League baseball.
The act of being a Black man on a baseball team set off violent threats and racial slurs for Robinson from not only fans in the bleachers, but also from his teammates. On the road, he could not eat in the same restaurants as the rest of the team or stay in the same hotel. These are just a few of the same injustices that Jackie Robinson endured to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Chadwick Boseman portrays Robinson as he makes the historic move to integrate a national U.S. sports team. 42 is not your typical sports movie. It is not about winning the Big Game and pep talks by the coach, it’s about a man remaining true to himself, maintaining his dignity, and playing baseball.
Chadwick plays Thurgood Marshall, who would go on to become the first African America Supreme Court Justice.
In Marshall, the young NAACP lawyer is at the beginning of his career when he comes up against racial prejudice and injustice in the defense of Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), a black chauffeur accused of the rape of a white woman in 1940’s Connecticut.
Da Five Bloods
Spike Lee directed Chadwick, Delroy Lindo, Clark Peters, and Norm Lewis in Da Five Bloods, a tale of four veterans who return to Vietnam to find the remains of their fellow soldiers.
In a series of flashbacks, Chadwick plays the fallen squad leader, Stormin’ Norman who inspired their loyalty and who helped them hide a fortune in gold. Available in Netflix
Chadwick: The King
Marvel continues to work on the Phase Four and Five projects of the Marvel Universe and they will return to Wakanda with Shuri, the Dora Milanje and new characters. But Marvel head, Kevin Fiege has said that the role of T’Challa will not be recast.
Who but Chadwick Boseman could fill the role of T’Challa, the king?
Yes. Chadwick Boseman had a brilliant acting career that ended much too soon. We can only wonder what the future held for him? What amazing roles he would have played and how much more he could have done?