Chadwick Boseman, an actor well-known and well-loved around the world, passed away last week. There have been many posts around the Internet about his passing, and we want to pay tribute to him as well by sharing works in honor of him from artists within the community.
Chadwick Boseman’s first leading role in a feature film was Jackie Robinson in 42, portraying the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. This was one of several instances where he portrayed a historical figure on screen, and he never shied away from that, having been quoted as saying, “People have said, 'You don't need to do any more biopics. You don't need to play any more real people.' I don't agree with that.”
He took the importance of depicting African-American historical figures in film and theatre seriously, and he gave each and every role he played the knowledge and understanding that person deserved. Whether he was on the field as Jackie Robinson, dancing on stage as James Brown, or standing in court as Thurgood Marshall, Boseman gave each role the weight it merited, and his performances were critically praised for it.
In 2016, Boseman first appeared as T’Challa, the Black Panther, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This role, arguably his most famous and recognizable, proved above all else that not only was Chadwick Boseman a masterful actor, but he was also a cultural icon. The success of the 2018 film Black Panther firmly established him as a recognizable leading actor in cinema, and he continued to be praised for his performances, time and time again.
The importance of seeing Boseman in the role of Black Panther went far beyond just individual talent or success, though. Across the United States, it was a chance for African-Americans to see a Black superhero leading a cast of primarily Black actors. For some people, it was the first time seeing a cast of Black actors as the focus in a movie. The representation that Boseman provided, that he strove for time and time again in his body of work, was impactful in a way that’s difficult to fully put into words, but has undoubtedly provided a frame for many creative minds.
While Boseman continued to see career success, he maintained privacy in his personal life. Despite his regular public appearances, he kept personal information away from the cameras and press, which made the news of his passing all the more shocking to hear. He was diagnosed with Stage III colon cancer in 2016, which by 2020 had progressed to stage IV. And yet he kept working, continuing to film as T’Challa, as well as notable roles in other films, one of which is set to be released later this year.
On August 28th, Chadwick Boseman’s family announced through his Twitter account that he had passed away after persevering through colon cancer over the course of four years. In less than 24 hours, it became the most liked tweet in history, and while metrics aren’t meaningful in the face of tragedy, it proves beyond doubt just how much he meant to so many.
“I'm an artist. Artists don't need permission to work. Regardless of whether I'm acting or not, I write. I write when I'm tired in fact, because I believe your most pure thoughts surface.”
“When you are deciding on the next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career. Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you.”
“Your very existence is wrapped up in the things you need to fulfill. Whatever you choose for a career path, remember the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
If you or someone you know is in need of resources relating to colon cancer, please visit the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. While it is a US-based organization, there are resources and information relating to the disease that can be of use to people around the world.
What does it mean to you to see heroes – both historical and fictional – portrayed on screen?
Though the work Boseman accomplished while battling cancer is undoubtedly impressive, some people feel the focus on this places an expectation on others to continue working without complaint when dealing with hardship. Have you ever felt pressure to keep creating while privately struggling?
The grief felt when a celebrity passes away is different than when we lose loved ones we know personally. What is your process for handling the death of a public figure you care about?
Can you remember the first time you felt represented in a piece of pop culture? What did that feel like?
While he will be missed by many, many people, we can only hope that for Chadwick Boseman, his words as T'Challa ring true: “death is not the end, it’s more of a stepping-off point.” From all of us at DeviantArt, we’re sending our condolences and well-wishes to everyone impacted by his passing.
“You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking; you are under pressure.” - Chadwick Boseman
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I know it is sad that he passed but it is unfair that you do this for him and not for other celebs that pass away like Tom Petty. Tom Petty was my idol I grew up with him since the age of 2 and I'm almost 27. And it is unfair that you didn't do a single tribute to him. He was an amazing person too not just as a celeb. I got so upset when he passed. I just wish you would do this for more well known celebs when they pass. There are more well known celebs than him. He wasn't all that well known celeb compared to other celebs.
Tom Petty had a long career and lived a long life as a great artist. Chadwick’s life was short and yet he had a big impact. He broke down barriers. Part of the grief is how little time he was given. He represented hope for a lot of people.
every time i hear about this my heart hurts so bad i miss you and your works where amazing its so sad all the legends die and we are left with villians the world wont be the same with out you
Hey, you know, I'm not ten fucking years old--the continuation of the use of these response and discussion questions on journal entries that are sent out to the entire site is insulting on an intellectual level. I understand that your higher ups want "engagement" but this is some grade school shit and it comes across as extremely condescending. Not only are they numbered like questions on an assignment but the tone and language used in the questions demonstrates a lack of respect for the userbase.
Seeing heroes felt like kindness.
I would never get some pressure. I was just going slow.
I made drawings something to remember them by.
The first time I've remembered was the My Little Pony Skylanders picture.
That inevitably, to some degree or another, they'll be mangled in the transition. Maybe their personality, or the details of their story, or their visual design/art direction, but something will be made worse.
Everybody feels pressure to perform despite personal problems. The world tends to be a cold, uncaring place that grinds on regardless of individual trials. Ideally, everybody should have the freedom to take some "me time" when they need it, but no, it's always go go go, rush rush rush, from the cradle to the grave. Society needs to slow down, we'd all be happier that way. I'd gladly wait longer for games, movies, deliveries, etc if it meant everybody involved lived happier healthier lives in the process.
I've never been particularly impacted by the death of a public figure. Not because I'm made of stone, I've just never felt any significant emotional bond to a public figure in the first place. They're too distant, in all regards. Question 4 is probably another factor as well.
I've yet to feel truly, meaningfully represented in any piece of pop culture, so I don't know what it feels like.
Rest In Power , Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020)
You Were The Real Black Panther , You Saved Millions Of People And Even Though You Had Stuggled In Your Life , You Will Be Remembered!!!