Photo Credit Goes To NewsBytesApp and Black Panther

RIP King T’Challa aka Chadwick Boseman.

First it was Kobe.

Now Chadwick.

2020 you’re mean.

I love love Black Panther. To finalize normalize black excellence on screen was spectacular. Not the sidekick, not the one that gets killed off. Not a movie or role that feeds into the harmful stereotypes. But the main star.

Black Panther is more than just a movie-it’s a cultural phenomenon.

In several of my articles (and vlogs infact), I explain how this world likes to put down black people in so many ways. It’s when they put black people in the worst light, assume that everyone thinks the same way and don’t see us an individuals; it’s always low expectations, (we can’t get good grades, we live in the worst areas, and so on). As the Black community continues to fight for equality against racism and injustices, this movie celebrates the rich culture of black people as a whole. When King T’Challa reigned victorious, in the movie theater people were clapping.

Boseman was a hero in the Black community. Our hero. No longer cast as a sidekick, Boseman’s Black Panther proudly symbolized so much progress. I can say that so many people felt celebrated for everything Black culture is in a world that frequently reminds us of what we aren’t.-Cydney Henderson

In acting school for an acting class, I was given a stereotypical welfare queen role-unfortunately, too many people (especially professors in this case) at my old school assume that a lot of black women are teenage mothers and welfare queens. I pulled the professor aside and said look man, I don’t like this. I’m a Catholic (technically cafeteria, but that’s a long story), not all black women “put out” or become mothers before the age of 18. This is stereotyping at it’s finest. If you REALLY knew me, you would know that my values wouldn’t allow a guy to disrespect me or use me or my body. That’s not how I roll.

He told me he thought I was good for the role-yeah, you think I’m good for the role because I’m the only black person in here. Why don’t you throw this out and find something else that puts Black people in a better light? Or just throw it out and find another role.

That day I realized that some of my professors had a very warped and horrible idea on how they think black people are.

While we have a long way to go, Black Panther showed the world what we already knew: how great black people and culture has always been. We descent from greatness, we are greatness. Our ancestry is something to be proud of and to shout from the mountaintops. We are kings and queens.

When Boseman decided to fight his cancer privately, I related to that. REALLY related.

When I had major surgery, I didn’t say a word on social media. I didn’t have no long Facebook explanations. No tweets saying that I was going to be in the hospital that day.

Some people take it way too personally when I don’t reveal every detail of my life to them.

“You gotta be vulnerable to people sometimes”

“Let people be there for you”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were in the hospital, I would have gotten you a care package.

You know it’s bad when at a Catholic retreat they tell you to let love burn in your heart. (They don’t reveal all their business to me, but expect me to talk about myself to them, so they can go around talking about your a** on the circuit. Remember the quote of 80% of people don’t care and 20% are happy that you have the problem? There has to be a certain level of trust and that has to be established before I consider opening up, and even after that some people you shouldn’t tell anyways.)

Nah. I didn’t want people worrying about me and getting all mushy on me lol. People start to treat you differently when they know you been through trauma of some sort. I was always the strong one growing up and the one everyone can turn to, but I couldn’t really trust a lot of people because they let me down and broke my trust too much. It just forced me to be my own best friend and to trust myself first.

Boseman was the best example of someone who was also going through pain, put up a brave fight, and still shared his gifts with us on screen.

Chadwick taught us several things here:

You never really know what private struggles people are facing.

Never let them see you sweat.

We all get knocked down and go through hard times, but we don’t have to stay down. Lick your wounds, and turn to trusted sources if you need, but keep going.

I didn’t let them see me sweat in school when the jealous girls tried to go against me. I didn’t let them see me sweat when they wanted to find out information on me just to tear me down. I didn’t let them see me sweat when they rejected me. I didn’t let them see me sweat when some family and friends passed away. Sure it stings, but I keep going.

Chadwick didn’t let us see him sweat. He just worked despite being in pain.

Chadwick’s journey and determination, much like his words and his performances are in and of themselves a message. A message to us all that while the road may be tough and the battle may be long, inside each and every one of us there’s a potential for greatness.-Delta B McKenzie

Thank you Chadwick Boseman for everything. I got to know you most as T’Challa on Black Panther. You’re still one of a kind. You showed up with grace, love, resilience and courage. You unselfishly showed up between surgeries and chemo-therapies to inspire us all. You pioneered a new era. You broke barriers and raised the standards. You will live on screen and in our hearts forever, king.

He had a way of being the character and bleeding his soul onto the screen. When he depicted these characters, I no longer saw Chadwick, I saw role he portrayed. His interpretations and storytelling flawless. The way he brought his roles to life was raw and so real that it still keeps my eyes glued on the screen. As I watch his projects over again, I can’t wait to rediscover the many creative ways he fleshes out his roles.

T’Challa taught us that we must fight until the end and Chadwick taught us that there’s no mountain too tall to climb.-Delta B. McKenzie

I’ll continue to throw out the beloved crossed-arm salute to let others know that they too, are royalty.

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