On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman breathed his last breath after a four-year-long battle with colon cancer. To many Marvel fans like me, he was the Black Panther. His character represented a civilization that found a balance between technology and humanity in order to create peace. Beyond Black Panther, he played incredible roles in movies like Da 5 Bloods, 42, and Marshall. His work broke several barriers and gave many people in the Black community a voice. In fact, the first Marvel hero of Asian descent became a reality because of the wall that Boseman broke.
Most movies about the Black community show Black people in difficult circumstances who are often saved by a white ‘savior,’ but Boseman’s work showed that Black people can be their own heroes. He took on roles that he knew would create an impact and change the narrative. It is devastating that we have had to say goodbye to an incredible cinematic civil rights activist, but his work will always be etched into our memories. We hope he rests in peace and continues to inspire many others to be kinder and stronger and to speak up against racial injustice.
Livin’ Like a Panther
Despite the numerous surgeries and cancer treatments he underwent, Boseman still adhered to a healthy and balanced schedule. This man was there for people even when he was going through a lot. Even when he wasn’t preparing for a role, he paid close attention to his fitness and health.
Boseman on training for Black Panther:
“You definitely have to tighten up the diet and the workouts. It just becomes a part of your day-to-day life and a part of your lifestyle. And sticking with the regimented diet and exercise routine, harnessing Black Panther’s physicality, that’s as important as his psychology and motivations and his accent. It informs so much. For anyone that’s ever trained in martial arts, you know how it feels when you get into a groove of things. That physical ability informs and provides an internal strength, it’s this quiet strength that is so key to Black Panther.”
His workout routine was a mix of martial arts, yoga, weightlifting, and even cardio. His background in martial arts helped him when preparing for Black Panther. Depending on his roles, his routine changed. For example, when he played Jackie Robinson, he had to take up baseball and improve his agility and footwork. You can find more detailed insight on his workout routine here. Exercise is a healthy way to cope with mental health struggles, so why not work out like one of your favorite Marvel heroes?
For some roles, Boseman had to lose weight, but for others, he had to gain muscle. For Black Panther, he ate a diverse diet rich in protein, complex carbs, fruits, vegetables, and even some healthy fats.
A Life of Privacy
When you are famous, everyone wants to know every little detail about your life. Boseman made sure to keep his personal life private. In fact, most people did not know that he was fighting cancer for the past four years. Boseman was wise to keep his personal life and screen life separate. Many mental health professionals recommend keeping our personal and work lives separate; this is another incredible lesson to learn from Boseman.
Boseman grew up in South Carolina with his two brothers. He was always interested in films, theater, and acting. No matter how big he got, he stayed in touch with his humble roots. He appreciated his loved ones and cherished the moments that mattered to him. In fact, he privately married his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, a few months before his passing.
Activism and Philosophy
Boseman used his platform for social good and for voicing important issues. His faith in God gave him strength for the trials life put him through. This same faith motivated him to help many during the global pandemic. Boseman partnered up with Thomas Tull, the executive producer of the film 42 in which Boseman played Jackie Robinson, to carry out the Operation 42 initiative. This initiative provided $4.2 million to hospitals that serve African-American communities.
In addition, Boseman spoke up to support the Black Lives Matter Movement and pushed Hollywood to stop discriminating against BIPOC and glorifying police violence in the media. John Boyega did the same thing, and it brought so much attention to the movement. They both acknowledged the risks and backlash they could face from Hollywood for speaking up, but they knew that it was the sacrifice they had to make to save Black lives from brutality and inequality. It is not easy to speak up as they did. They have shown how imperative it is to use your platform to bring awareness to issues. To many, Chadwick Boseman was more than the Black Panther: He was an icon who changed the cinematic narrative and made it possible for many minorities to be the heroes of their own communities.
Allen, J. (2020). Chadwick Boseman’s family remembers his strength as fans mourn his death. Retrieved from https://www.distractify.com/p/did-chadwick-boseman-have-siblings
Denison, J. (2020). Chadwick Boseman’s death and faith: The power of purpose and the “two great days” of your life. Retrieved from https://www.denisonforum.org/columns/daily-article/chadwick-bosemans-death-and-faith-the-power-of-purpose-and-the-two-great-days-of-your-life/
England, J. (2020). Chadwick Boseman inspired workout: Train like Black Panther. Retrieved from muscleandstrength.com/workouts/chadwick-boseman-workout-program
Scott, M. (2020). What Chadwick Boseman was doing in his final days. Retrieved from https://www.thelist.com/241484/what-chadwick-boseman-was-doing-in-his-final-days/
The LNP. (2020). Chadwick Boseman. Retrieved from https://lancasteronline.com/opinion/editorials/the-life-and-death-of-black-panther-star-chadwick-boseman-offer-lessons-to-us-all/article_c0469930-ebe8-11ea-a291-fbba93548e68.html
Thorp, C. (2020). How Chadwick Boseman trained for battle in ‘Avengers: Infinity War.’ Retrieved from https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/chadwick-boseman-avengers-infinity-war-workout/
Train. (2018). Chadwick Boseman interview: Black Panther superhero reveals all. Retrieved from https://www.trainmag.com/fitness/chadwick-boseman-interview/
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