A Perspective on ‘Black Panther’ and James Brown Star Chadwick Boseman (RIP)

“Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.” — Chadwick Boseman (Nov. 29, 1976 – Aug. 28, 2020)

I know it’s been asked countless times already, but hasn’t the year 2020 been something else? I’m putting it very modestly. The passing of Los Angeles Lakers great, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven passengers who died in the helicopter crash. The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Tony McDade. I definitely can’t fail to mention the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that continues to wreak havoc on the world. Now it’s Chadwick Boseman, who starred as King T’Challa in Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther,” died at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer.

Photography by Ralph A. Gilmore

Before I heard the news about Chadwick Boseman’s passing, I was preparing to write a slightly different post; however, the subject matter was still directly related to how Boseman lived his life. I believed that he found his purpose and he told his story. In a recent Instagram post that I wrote, I asked the question in which I invited you all to ask yourselves, “what would be your story?” What would be the theme of your life? I stated that my immediate response would be to just try and be the best version of myself each and every day. I trust that Boseman achieved that feat in a short, yet—fulfilling journey in his life. I can imagine that his family is experiencing a great deal of pain and confusion at this time. I can relate because I lost my close cousin, Anthony Gilliard, eight years ago at the age of 32, due to Stage IV Colon Cancer metastasized to the Liver. It just goes to show that we truly have to make the most of our time while we’re still existing.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

From what Chadwick Boseman has done in such a short time, this feels like it should change everything; but unfortunately, some folks will still remain the same. This gentleman used his talent to uplift Black people and shined a light on both fictional and real life Black heroes: Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and King T’Challa. He accomplished all of this while fighting colon cancer. Just think about the level of discipline that Boseman maintained while showing the rare ability to conquer one’s greatest fears. What fear is greater than a persistent threat to your mortality? We should have a new standard of being. Of working. Of preserving each other’s life. We need to work harder and better. We need to make it a daily habit to be grateful.

The motivation behind everything that I do is to leave this Earth a better place after I’m gone. We are only mere vessels for the extraordinary abilities and gifts that we carry, in which some of us discover sooner rather than later. Boseman has certainly accomplished that. Thank you for illuminating the culture and sharing your art. Rest in power, King.

Wakanda forever.

Chadwick Boseman’s Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech

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