Having strength is one thing, but having determination, purpose and drive is another.
Chadwick Boseman,43, embodied all of those characteristics while having stage IV cancer in his last four years of life.
He was not only a superhero to young black children, but a role model for everyone to follow. He gave the world just a glimpse of how powerful an actor and leader he was in “42,” “Get on Up,” “Marshall,” “Da 5 Bloods” and most notably of all, “Black Panther.”
These roles showcased how immaculate Boseman was as an actor but does not highlight his early life and career goals, his rise to stardom or his black excellence!
Though Boseman liked to keep his professional and private life separate, here are some very intriguing facts about the fallen star.
A BIG FAMILY:
Chadwick Boseman was born Nov. 29, 1977, in Anderson, South Carolina. He was raised by his two hard-working parents, Carolyn and Leroy Boseman. According to Men’s Variety, Boseman stated that his grandmother left behind 115 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, so family was an important thing for him.
Boseman wanted to know more about his African lineage because he was of African American descent. His results provided shocking information, not only did it reveal his West African ancestry but is also revealed the specific tribes and ethnicities in which he was from. He has traces back to Yoruba from Nigeria, Limba and Mende from Sierra Leone and Jola from Guinea-Bissau, says Factinate.
According to IMDB, Boseman played basketball at T.L. Hanna High School in which he excelled at. His coach, however, knew that Boseman wasn’t really interested in becoming an NBA player, “I always saw him in education, in some field, because he loved to read,” said Marion Tarrant, Anderson resident and coach, in a 2017 Independent Mail story.
Chadwick Boseman attended Howard University, a historically Black college and university. Though there are other HBCUs such as Alabama State University, Boseman decided to enroll at Howard University because he knew that there were a lot of great actors and people who work in the entertainment industry that have graduated from there. In addition, while attending Howard, he gained more knowledge about black history, excellence and the many writers of poetry and books such as James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright.
A HIDDEN BLESSING:
While at Howard University, Chadwick Boseman got accepted into Oxford’s summer acting program in which Boseman couldn’t afford. Surprisingly, “Training Day” star, Denzel Washington paid the fees and tuition unbeknownst to Boseman for some time thanks to his teacher and mentor, “The Cosby Show” star, Phylicia Rashad.
A CHANGE IN ‘DIRECT’ION:
Boseman went to Howard University to pursue a degree in directing, not acting. According to Factinate, Boseman was only interested in acting so that he could better his craft in directing and writing. He wrote and directed many different plays, but his most well-known play is “Deep Azure,” which was nominated for a Jeff Award for Best New Play. In fact, when he received a call for “42,” he was directing another play.
Chadwick’s Boseman’s acting career began on television. He played several minor roles in TV shows such as: “CSI:NY,” “Castle,” “Law & Order” and many more, says TheThings. He didn’t get his first major movie role until 2008 with “The Express: The Ernie Davis Story” where he played Floyd Little. After starring in that movie, he took a little break on the whole acting gig and started to focus back on his writing and directing skills. It was not until 2013 that Boseman’s career took off.
According to tonsoffacts, about 25 other acts had auditioned and were considered for the role of Jackie Robinson in the biopic “42.” Due to Boseman’s determination and bravery, director Brian Helgeland cast him (auditioning twice really helped.) Once this movie hit the box office, it broke records.”42” has the highest box office opening weekend for a baseball movie. The record was previously held by “The Benchwarmers.”
TALENT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF:
Once the idea that Marvel was creating a movie based on the comic “Black Panther,” Boseman was automatically considered for the role. According to TheThings., Boseman’s history of biopics and tremendous roles gave President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige,all he needed to know. In an interview with nightline, Fiege recalled the moment that he asked Boseman if he wanted the role, “ We needed somebody who could play alongside those great actors. And literally went around the table, Chadwick was what we all had in mind … if not within hours, within days and offered him the part and he said yes.”
No, while Chadwick Boseman played T’challa in “Black Panther” he insisted to play the part with an African accent. Who could imagine T’challa speaking with an English accent when he is from Wakanda, a city in Africa. However, many people told him that the African accent was not a good addition to the character, “There was a time period where people would ask me questions about whether or not an audience could sit through a movie with a lead character that spoke with that accent,” Boseman stated.
TWO PEAS IN A POD
As Boseman has previously stated numerous amounts of times, he liked to keep his personal life personal and his professional life professional, so much so that many people do not know about this upcoming fact! Boseman had a girlfriend, her name was Taylor Simone Ledward! They had been together since 2015. A few months before his passing, they secretly got married. Wow, Boseman certainly knew how to keep things under wraps!
According to CBR, Marvel was unaware of Boseman’s illness, but Boseman himself was confident he would overcome it. Sources have stated that he was planning to start his prep work for “Black Panther 2” in September to gain back some of his muscle mass that he had lost due to cancer. President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, had no idea that Boseman was ill. Feige only learned about Boseman having cancer hours before his untimely death. As of right now, Disney and Marvel are in the process of grieving over Boseman’s death and have not made any statements toward what their new plans are for the film.
The life and legacy of Chadwick Boseman will forever be a part of Black History.
The “Black Panther” movie not only made $1 billion in the box office, but it also sparked conversations in the classrooms and gave many young Black children representation and a figure of hope.