2020 is just a number. But it’s one we have all come to despise. I waited for this year since I was eight years old when I saw the trailer for that Keanu Reeves movie, Johnny Mnemonic. “In the year 2020….” I would be thirty five. Wow. And here we are with a new Bill And Ted movie released. I’d love to talk about it. I’d love nothing more right now than to go on about how incredible it was. But I can’t. Because it’s just another day in 2020, which means something terrible happened. And today, it’s something unspeakable. Actor Chadwick Boseman is dead after a four year battle with colon cancer. Who knew?
I’m thinking of that night when Avengers: Infinity War came out. Many of these Characters we’ve come to know and love turned to dust and we were shaken as an audience. And Black Panther wasn’t one of the heroes to stay. This little girl sitting next to my Wife was crying her heart out. We had just gotten our Black Panther. How could he be dead? The only flaw this beautifully done cliffhanger had was that we didn’t get to enjoy the results in Avengers: Endgame with that same audience. I can only imagine that little girl’s face when her hero came out of those golden rings. I bet she was glowing. Her hero had returned. And now this. I’m crying.
Slaves. Pimps. Drug dealers. Gangsters. Rapists. Criminals. These are the images that have been set up for black men in Hollywood. Before that, it was the token black guy who showed up in movies dancing with little white girls, making silly faces and playing the part. Sometimes they even had magical powers. And before that, they were villains who kidnapped white women and the only ones who could save the day were the Ku Klux Klan. Terrible days. But then there was Marvel. They have been pushing for diversity in their stories for decades. We got heroes like Storm, Luke Cage and Black Panther. Young black children finally had someone to look up to. But Comic Books weren’t the most popular forms of media. We wouldn’t see these characters on the big screen for decades.
Black Panther was a certified hit in 2018. It broke barriers and changed the way we see people of color. Here was a hero Children could look up to, and dammit did they. We’ve been able to enjoy the adventures of King T’Challa in about four Movies now, including Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But that’s not all. You can enjoy the talents of Actor Chadwick Boseman in films like 42, where he played legendary Baseball player Jackie Robinson, Get On Up, where he played legendary singer James Brown, and Marshall, where he played legendary Lawyer Thurgood Marshall. That’s a pretty legendary career. In fact, now Chadwick Boseman will go down as pretty damn legendary, himself. And that’s just cutting the surface of his talents. He has plenty of Movies we can enjoy.
But for the children who just lost their hero, my heart is broken. We need heroes now more than ever. These are possibly the darkest days in history. He’s gone and there are monsters out there scaring people. Black Lives Matter and other organizations are doing their best but the enemy is real and we can’t let the dark days over come us. Actors need to turn down roles that will destroy the positive images that Chadwick and so many others have built now. This is when we need these positive images the most. Look to the heroes. Chadwick Boseman is still here with us. Black Panther remains in our hearts and our Movie collections. His essence isn’t going going anywhere. WAKANDA FOREVER!!!