The South Carolina Senate has passed a resolution honoring actor and Anderson native Chadwick Boseman, who recently died at age 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
But here is what should truly strike a chord regarding the state’s commemoration of the beloved film star:
It is an honor that Boseman deserved just as much for the nobility he displayed in actual life as the brilliance he exhibited on a movie screen.
By all accounts Boseman was a private public figure; indeed what made the impact of the actor’s death so weighty for so many was that so few knew that he was even fighting a daunting battle with cancer — or that he’d been doing so for such a lengthy period.
But we can surely assume that during the four years between the day Boseman learned of his diagnosis and the day he finally succumbed to it, he experienced moments of fallen tears.
Moments of raw devastation.
And moments of deep despair.
A superhuman in a two-hour film is still a human being in 24-hour life — and isn’t immune from the vulnerabilities that come with that reality.
Yet the enduring power of Boseman’s memory should be that his final four years of life were lived with:
And, most striking of all, Boseman’s final four years of life were clearly fueled by this: a relentless hunger to keep accomplishing great things in his life — and, time after time, to keep achieving them.
Yes, we should always treasure the magnificence of Boseman’s work in movies like “42,” “Marshall,” “Da 5 Bloods” and, of course, his iconic starring role as King T’Challa in “The Black Panther.”
But what demands to be cherished even more about Boseman is that he possessed the unquenchable sense of tenacity to keep pursuing acclaimed magnificence while also confronting stark mortality.
We should always admire how convincingly Boseman played a superhero in front of the cameras.
But our greatest applause should always be reserved for the compelling courage that the actor demonstrated far from the camera — because that truly was heroic in nature.
A true legacy
It’s a given that part of Boseman’s legacy will always be the declaration of empowerment that he utters in “The Black Panther”:
And that will always be fitting.
For generations to come it will inspire young Black children of all backgrounds — some of them facing obstacles of all kinds — to proudly wear “Black Panther” costumes to Halloween parties and countless other gatherings of kids.
Their heads will be held high.
Their bearing will be brimming with self-esteem.
Their eyes will be bright with self-confidence.
And that will forever carry a power that goes well beyond two simple words in a Marvel Studios movie.
But the lasting legacy of Chadwick Boseman should also be that of someone who chased and grasped excellence in cinematic life while bravely and directly confronting, each day, the fragility and uncertainty of genuine life.
It is a legacy worthy of resonance, and it’s why the South Carolina Senate’s recognition of Boseman is one so richly earned.
An editorial from The State newspaper, South Carolina.