Tanzina Vega: Last week actor Chadwick Boseman passed away at age 43 from colon cancer, a diagnosis he had received in 2016. In the four years since that diagnosis, Boseman played myriad iconic roles from Thurgood Marshall to James Brown to Jackie Robinson to King T'Challa in Black Panther. That character turned Boseman into a larger than life celebrity.
Chadwick Boseman: I knew it was the opportunity to pull from real things, real achievements, real African culture, and place it in this movie to make it real.
Tanzina Vega: The film Black Panther and Boseman's portrayal of T'Challa inspired a new generation of fans eager for innovative and inspiring portrayals of Blackness.
Speaker 3: When I saw the trailer, it moved me.
Speaker 4: I want to know more about where he comes from.
Speaker 5: Black Panther in the mainstream, finally.
Speaker 6: It makes me think that I could be anything that I want.
Tanzina Vega: You told us what Boseman meant to you and your families.
Louis: This is Louis from Tarrytown, New York. Chadwick Boseman for me represented a new vision, particularly as a man of color. When I was a child, we used to play super heroes with each other and we always have to emulate super heroes who didn't look like us. I could only imagine what it would be like today to be able to play the Black Panther in those games again. I remember going to the movie and walking out and feeling like I was 12 years old again. It's wonderful for my daughters to be able to have that kind of role model.
Angela: This is Angela from Chicago. Chadwick Boseman was very selective about what he wanted to portray, the images he wanted to portray. It speaks to his character and what he wanted to do, the legacy he wanted to leave. The humility that he showed when meeting with fans, working through pain in a private way speaks to his ultimate character, his ultimate bravery and courage that he wanted to finish that work and finish those characters before he left this plane of existence.
Deloris: Hello, my name is Deloris. I'm calling from St. Cloud, Minnesota. Chadwick meant a lot to our family. He was a representation of a strong Black man in the movie. He's also a very big person in our family as a super hero. When we heard about the passing of his death, we were very all sad. We've been saddened for a couple of days, but we want to celebrate his life and what his life meant to our family and what it meant is Wakanda for life. Thank you.
Sharon: Hi, this is Sharon from Pompano Beach. Chadwick Boseman, in almost every speech that he has given, he has talked about the responsibility of leadership, the responsibility of society, of individuals to step up and to be everything that they can be and for the betterment of society in general. We need to pay attention. We need to heed, and we need to look inward and look outward to the community and see where we all need to be better, to do better.
Speaker 13: This is [unintelligible 00:03:43] from San Francisco, California. I was very crushed to learn of such a talent's young death. I had seen Marshall and it was a stunning performance, and this is the same young man who played the Black Panthers, this remarkable, what, not just a talent , such hard work portraying the characters that he did over his years. It's a real loss.
Dakota: Hello, this is Dakota from Tampa, Florida. Chadwick meant to me that when I went to see Black Panther in theaters, this Black American came out of the theater and started yelling about how this must feel to have a white super hero movie. That really just opened my eyes to how whitewashed everything is.
Ellen: Hi, this is your friend Ellen in Pittsburgh. Chadwick Boseman personified a new generation of actors for me. Strong, intelligent, focused, vital, and not white [chuckles] . I'm genuinely shocked and saddened by the loss of this man so early. So unfair. I pray for grace and healing for his family.
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