I’ve been letting the morning minutes tick by aimlessly because I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been numb all weekend. Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and now Chadwick Boseman. All actors who I’ve loved and admired who left us far too soon, and who’ve had the same profound impact on me in their life and in their death. This one is even more difficult to wrap my head around because it was so sudden and out of nowhere. Superheroes are supposed to be indestructible. They’re not supposed to be taken from us without warning.
It was finally the weekend. I’d just finished eating the pizza I’d been dreaming about all week and was then grossed out by after a few bites (typical). Was looking forward to my long planned Ikea trip the next day. We were at the last few minutes of Predestination, a movie which I absolutely loved and will likely talk about soon. As absorbed as I was in the film, especially as we were getting to some big final reveals, I pulled out my phone. I started with looking up plot points of the film, mostly to make sure that I was following everything. But as so inevitably happens, I pulled up Insta. And there at the top of the page was Josh Gad’s post about Chadwick Boseman. I paused the movie. This couldn’t be true, could it? Some quick internet searches confirmed the news that had just broken. Chadwick Boseman was dead at 43 from colon cancer.
An initial wave of grief hit me. I thought about all the amazing things he’d done with his career (42, Get on Up, Thurman) but mostly I thought about his legacy as Black Panther. What it meant to the black community to see a headlining black superhero, and utter disbelief that he could be taken from us. I thought about the crowd the night that first saw the movie, and how they were one of the rowdier movie crowds I’ve been in. Or the Saturday opening weekend when I went to the theater to see something else and it was the only time I ever struggled with parking because I saw so many gorgeous black families piling in the cinema. My heart ached for the void that was now being left by him.
I thought about his role in Da 5 Bloods, and how his character died young (not a spoiler, it’s the plot of the movie) and his young self was acting alongside older gentlemen to show how his character was frozen in time. Now he would be too. It’s as though the role was prophetic.
His death also made me think about my own mortality. Dead at 43, diagnosed at 38. I’m 35. That’s not too far away. There are so many dark and dangerous threats in this world, any moment could be your last.
The movie ended and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I walked around my tiny apartment aimlessly for a good twenty minutes. I went to put something in my purse, completely forgetting that I have a Black Panther bag now, and got emotional all over again. Any further plans for the evening, yoga or new movies, were out the window. I sat in the middle of the floor for a while. My cat, who is typically stingy with affection, sensed my grief and sat near me. There was only one thing I could do. I went back to the living room and put on Black Panther.
I’ve been in a fog the whole weekend, watching video clips of interviews and awards show moments. When I went to bed Friday night, the first thing I saw was my Black Panther pillow. I remembered that hell I’d wanted to get the entire sheet set, but they didn’t come in queen size. I went grocery shopping on Saturday, grabbed a bunch of my reusable bags, and the first one had T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye. I broke my movie budget for the week because I insisted that I needed 21 Bridges (I don’t have Marshall or Get on Up either) and I needed to get a comfort movie (Little Giants).
This one is gonna take a long time to get over, and similar to the illustrious actors I mentioned at the start, it’ll likely always hurt. It’s things that this that make you question your entire understanding of how the world works.