Alexa Green Data News Weekly Contributor
The news of Black Panther Actor Chadwick Boseman’s death to colon cancer on Aug. 28, 2020 sent the Hollywood community and his fans into mourning for the loss of the first Black superhero lead on screen. Boseman, who played iconic roles of Jackie Robinson in 42, James Brown in Get On Up, and Thurgood Marshall in Marshall was 43, when he passed away. Family, friends, fans, and all those Boseman had crossed paths with and who were inspired by his work reflected on his character and legacy.
“It was such a great privilege to work with Chadwick Boseman. I witnessed how in tune he was with his role as Black Panther,” said Joseph Singletary, III, a New Orleans native and actor and stunt man, who was part of the cast and stunt cast for Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Singletary who won the 2019 SAG-AFTRA Award for Black Panther for Best Stunt Performance along with the stunt team, said Boseman was a true leader on set.
“I truly believe that he believed he was a real superhero. It showed in his performance. Even how he moved around on set looked heroic, very focused. When he gave a direction, he spoke like a King! That alone was a lesson for me,” Singletary said.
Boseman, who was a graduate of Howard University, in addition to acting, established himself in many other aspects of the film industry – from writing, to directing, and producing. His diverse skills inspired Prinsey Walker, a New Orleans native and film student at the University of New Orleans who is now launching her career in the local film industry.
“Upon receiving news of Chadwick Boseman’s passing, my chest caved in,” Walker said. She noted that Boseman began a very mainstream acting career later in his life. She said his story gave hope to actors in their 30s and 40s that they can achieve the Hollywood dream.
“Boseman was a Black man starring in multi-million-dollar films, proving that African American men are more than drug dealers and murders on screen. He taught younger male actors not to fall into the niche the White-male film industry has built for people of color,” Walker said.
“Now, he inspires the world to use the time allowed in life, to do all one can to fulfill their mission. Honestly, without the suit, Boseman is a superhero,” Walker added.