Why Chadwick Boseman Will Always Be Our Black Panther
We weep today and rise in your honor tomorrow. Wakanda forever.
August 30, 2020 at 3:20 am
"No more," keeps echoing in my head. Black America needs a break.
Circa 2018, my eyes were red and strained from a cascade of tears and emotions overflowing as the movie ‘Black Panther’ ended. We sat in our seats, collecting our thoughts.
I was with my Black kings, my son and husband. My husband was holding me together in his arms. I was falling to pieces after watching Marvel's Black Panther for the first time. Finally the world was catching up to centuries of Black culture and Black excellence. There we were on the big screen. Our majesty, our melanin, our unstoppable swag — God-given talent of unsurpassed rhythm, style, grace and soul. One movie successfully capturing the essence and spirit of being Black, but not different. Rather, unique.
Black Panther metaphorically defines the Black culture experience as one rare and supernatural resource called vibranium. Vibranium is produced and sourced exclusively by Wakandans, aka Black people. Although fictional, other nations robbed, plotted and killed for it, going to lengths of extreme betrayal to possess the power in this one of a kind resource, symbolic of the real-life magic that Black people embody. Sound familiar?
Wakanda Forever was the message we texted to every family member and every friend after seeing Black Panther. So much triumph in this message, and the whole world was receiving it through this magnificent and mighty film.
Black Panther ricocheted around the world. Breaking records and shattering glass ceilings of what superheroes look like. The film became the physical embodiment of Black people — ourselves as superheroes, fighting honorably to protect our true rare selves as a natural resource in existence. We, as African Americans, could finally see ourselves elevated. A living portrait of what we would look like, what we would wear, how we would sound and how we would behave as modern-day kings and queens in our native land. Wakanda seemed so within reach, if not for our royal legacy denied over 400 years ago when we became a stolen people. I was overwhelmed with emotion, knowing that we were stripped from existing in our truth in our motherland.
My family eagerly returned to see Black Panther for a total of three times after that first emotional screening. Although different theaters, we always saw the movie in 3D. Two years later today, so many of us are returning to honor the cultural and barrier-breaking phenomenon. Unfortunately, we relive the Black Panther experience in deep sorrow after learning of our beloved superhero's untimely death. The Black Panther himself, actor Chadwick Boseman, is gone.
Chadwick will always be our Black Panther. Our King T'Challa. We are forever grateful for his onscreen contribution, portraying a living vision of ourselves that we can hold as our truth. Losing Chadwick feels like the loss of a nation's king. The words, "no more," keep echoing in my head. Black America needs a break. This year alone we've lost too many ancestors, daughters, sons and kings.
Rest in power, King T'Challa, Chadwick Boseman. We weep for you today and rise in your honor tomorrow. You are now one of the ancestors we look to and love.