The world has been in mourning for the past week over the news of Chadwick Boseman dying at the age of 43 after privately battling with colon cancer for the past four years. Star of the genre bending and ground-breaking superhero movie Black Panther, Boseman was an inspiration to everyone. Boseman portrayed the first Black superhero in mainstream American comics when the record-breaking Marvel franchise took Black Panther to screens across the world in 2018. But he was also a hero to many among us outside of that role.
When he went back to his alma mater, Howard University, in 2018 to deliver the commencement speech, he inspired many young people around the nation to not get knocked down by anything. He talked to the graduates about his early career, how he got fired because he didn’t feel okay portraying a role that he felt was stereotypical of Black characters, and not wanting to perpetuate negative portrayals. He said, “The struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”
Below, we try to honor his life and work with some of our favorite inspirational quotes:
“I’m an artist. Artists don’t need permission to work. Regardless of whether I’m acting or not, I write. I write when I’m tired in fact, because I believe your most pure thoughts surface.”
“When you pray for something, it can actually happen and that is Powerful!”
“The only difference between a hero and a villain is that the villain chooses to use that power in a way that is selfish and hurts other people.”
“You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.”
“Colonialism is the cousin of slavery.”
“People of African descent, most of us grew up accepting and loving Spider-Man. I still love Spider-Man. I still love the Incredible Hulk. I still have those characters that were white role models, superheroes, heroes – whatever you want to call it. You basically had no choice but to accept those.”
“Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than divides us. But in times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
May your soul rest in peace Chadwick.
Photo via Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP