The world is mourning the demise of actor Chadwick Aaron Boseman. The star who shot to fame with Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers’ franchise died on August 28, 2020 after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Born to African – American parents, Boseman graduated from T N Hanna High School and attended college at Howard University in Washington D.C., graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in directing. The Marvel superhero icon wanted to write and direct, and initially began studying acting to learn how to relate to actors. Prominent Hollywood actor Denzel Washington funded Boseman for Oxford Mid – Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in London. In one of his acceptance speeches Boseman expressed his gratitude towards Washington as he said, “There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington.”
Black Panther was a game changer in the history of Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact it was one of the most critically acclaimed mainstream entertainers that spoke about racism and discrimination. The protagonist T’Challa played by Boseman advocated the need for African nations to step in and take lead in scientific advancements and contribute towards economic and social equality. The theme of Black Panther focuses on governance, social justice, education, science and technology and the need for knowledge sharing among global community. Boseman was once asked to give an advice to US President Donald Trump, to which the actor opined, “Try to listen to your critics.”
As Indian fans form a large audience base for Marvel superhero franchise. The youth and junior high school goers face disappointment due to the sudden demise of their beloved King T’Challa. Not just movie buffs, but civil rights activists and politicians expressed their grief as Boseman was a strong black figure in Hollywood who created hope for an equal and fair tomorrow. What Indian fans could cherish and celebrate of Boseman’s legacy is not just his artistry, but his persistence, hard – work, dedication and passion towards resisting discrimination. The actor always believed that it’s only through self belief we all could rise against all forms of injustice and inequality prevalent in the society.
Today, in India the middle class goes through a lot of discrimination and inequality, in spite of being an honest taxpayer. There’s a lot of political and social activism based on caste and religion in our country. But there’s hardly any concern for the middle class in general, as they neither possess any business nor get any monetary relaxations. Mediocrity over meritocracy is also a biggest hindrance to socio – economic prosperity of India. Gender based discrimination which is a global issue is also seen among the educated class as much within the uneducated masses. There’s selective outrage and dissent by the self proclaimed advocates of free speech in the society. Media and arts are considered to be the voice of commoners and benchmark for freedom of expression is dominated by a privileged elite class that controls the popular narrative. There’s a need to use social media for mass mobilization against corruption, nepotism, separatism and terrorism. A lot has to be achieved which can only be attained by following the life example of Boseman. The message from Black Panther of rising against all odds is very much relevant to the Indian society in the present scenario. The way King T’Challa gave hope to humanity by standing against Thanos, similarly we all need to realize our inner spiritual self to face the pandemic. These are indeed harsh times for all, but both Boseman and Black Panther stand for bravery, resilience, compassion and humanity. Let’s honour Chadwick Boseman’s legacy by being the best version of ourselves. The best tribute one can give to the immortal maverick who became a legend.