REMEMBERING CHADWICK BOSEMAN, Black Panther, Who Lives Forever

Chadwick Boseman
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Chadwick Boseman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. The Black Panther has made a final leap, from Time to Eternity. Chadwick Boseman’s transition Friday, August 28, struck us as sudden, shocking. We cried out. Many wept for hours. Many would not sleep Friday night. Chadwick Boseman had given so much to the World: an abundance of strength, an abundance of beauty. He was the embodiment of ancestral Power and Truth. He empowered inspired young African American men, as he stood and moved with the power and grace of the Panther. His masculinity in sharp contrast to superficial cinematic posture. Author, actor and activist, he inspired us to continue the struggle for human rights. And now it seems he has gone away. Marcus Garvey said, “I will teach the Black man to see beauty in himself.” Chadwick Boseman, regal and gracious made conspicuous the indisputable beauty and power of African men. Research, which included travel, and learning the Xhosa language enriched the production. Contemporary racial brutalities can find no moral justifications in this portrait of a Black man in harmony with nature, immersed in deep Ancestral energies, powerful in imagination, brilliant, compassionate agile and strong, Boseman’s death on the 57th Anniversary of the March on Washington heightens the impact of his transition, especially as we struggle to maintain balance and order while confronting racial hatred, a deadly pandemic and global warming. Africans born on the continent, Africans born in the Caribbean and in America as powerful collaborators in “Black Panther” provide a timely reminder that we must not lose hope, that unity is essential in matters of life and death. During World War II, the all Black US Army 761st Tank Battalion was dubbed, “The Black Panthers.” In 1966 Jack Kirby took that name for his Marvel hero which Chadwick Boseman very much enjoyed reading about in his young years. When we hear Chadwick Boseman’s voice delivering the commencement address at Howard University in 2018, he is so present, so alive. His voice is comforting as he thanks the university for preparing him to effectively deliver the roles of Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown and Black Panther. He would accurately inhabit the spirit and essential energies of each role and this extraordinary capacity could be compared to the Yoruba Orisha, described in Zora Neale Hurston’s, Tell My Horse. The author of Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates, was one of his many appreciative classmates at Howard University paying tribute to author and activist Chadwick Boseman who, despite superlative health challenges, lived his final years with grace and power. Chadwick Boseman, our Black Panther who recalled so many ancient Truths and who gave so much to the World, has made his transition. May the Ancestors be pleased. May the Ancestors welcome him. He lives forever. Prof. Ebele Oseye teaches African Literature at Pace University

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