Ladies and gentlemen, today's blog is not going to be a motivational piece. Today's blog is a tribute, a celebration and appreciation of life. One that saddens my heart because it is a tragic loss, and one that warms my spirit because it shows that superheroes really do exist.
Even though I never met Mr. Chadwick Aaron Boseman personally, his demeanor was always that of a stand up guy. He always carried himself respectably and graciously; he seemed kind, courteous, and most importantly, a man of the community and people.
I, myself, am from Anderson, South Carolina, the same place Chadwick bloomed from as well. As people, we all have dreams, goals, purpose and ambitions. Chadwick Boseman took all these things and went from a small town on a big map and catapulted into another universe. On his walk from Anderson to Wakanda, he made several groundbreaking moments along the way. He portrayed several of our black heroes from Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall. Showing us our history in a light that wasn't tainted with the backdrop of slavery.
In 42, he was phenomenal. In Get On Up, he was electrifying. In Marshall, he was classic.
Then, there's the hero he would play that changed the lives of little Black boys and girls forever. A role so meaningful that it even captured the minds of young white kids as well. Since coming to America, we had not seen Black people portrayed as kings and queens. Then came King T'challa, a Black man who was king of the wealthiest nation on earth with unlimited technology, and to top it all off, he had super powers. WOW, how freaking amazing is that!
The Black Panther set a precedent.
It gave us all a sense of pride. For the first time in history, it gave us someone who was just as cool as Batman or Superman. It was so influential that it made me, at the time a 37 year old man, dress up like The Black Panther and take pictures with the kids on Halloween.
Through all of his fame, he remained humble, kind, graceful and sincere.
I remember him renting out the movie theater in Anderson for The Black Panther release, after the theater denied doing anything for the release initially. He filled buses with kids and provided everyone with popcorn and drinks. To most people, this would seem like a small feat, but try telling that to a kid who may have never seen this movie otherwise.
At a time in his life, when he was the biggest, strongest superhero in the world, Chadwick was fighting the toughest villain of his life. A battle that takes a toll on you mentally and physically; but yet, he never wavered. Still making movies, delivering powerful speeches and being active in the community. This is the true measure of a man. When no one was looking and he was at his weakest, he stood strong and persevered while never making excuses.
Those who are Godly always know their purpose is bigger than themselves. Yes, The Black Panther was a fictional character, but the ideologies of him is what we need present in our communities today. So now, we must celebrate his name, his honor and his legacy. We must fight to keep all of his accomplishments alive because everything he did was a positive reflection of us, as Black people. Today, I am proud to be a citizen of Anderson, South Carolina, the birthplace of Chadwick Boseman, The Black Panther. Here, superheroes are born.
Thank you, my brother. You embarked on a journey from Anderson and ended up planting your flag in the soil of Wakanda. We are forever grateful. Rest in peace, power and paradise, Chadwick Boseman. May the legacy of The Black Panther live on forever.
To everyone reading this: When your purpose becomes bigger than your life, you too have become a superhero.
Always preach love and practice acceptance.
-D.K. Swilling, Anderson, S.C.