As I scroll through all the Chadwick Boseman condolences I’m seeing political figures saying good bye too, and occasionally the response is “Stop using this man’s tragedy to further your political aspirations. His death is not political.” But I think it is and here’s why.
When “Black Panther” came out I read all of they hype of a strong black superhero and how important it was for the black community. I was stoked for them, but I didn’t truly understand what it meant until I decided to go to a movie showing of Avengers: Endgame one night when I was out of town at a convention in Novi.
Yes I will go to movies by myself – if it’s something I really want to see. I’d been at the comic con all day and every other person brought up the movie to me and I had to warn them off that I had yet to see it.
So I went. I found a theatre down the road from the convention hall and found the perfect seat. 3 rows back, dead center. It was packed with folks, but there was a solitary seat in between two black couples. They looked at me sideways when I sat down, but whatever, I was there to watch the movie. The audience was more diverse than what is common in the town where I’m from. As the movie got going I was 100% engaged in the story. The people around me disappeared… until Black Panther came on the screen. The audience erupted in cheers. This reaction was new to me and I was struck by how important it was for this group of predominantly black people to see a hero up there that represented them. I was in awe, but also a bit ashamed by my white privelege. There were many heroes on screen who looked like me.
With the Black Lives Matter movement and an administration that doesn’t recognize or even acknowledge systemic racism – the loss of Chadwick Boseman is political. He was important to the black community. I experienced it and felt the weight of their love for his character.
I’m glad those I will vote for recognize Chadwick Bosman’s importance to the black community.
Rest in Power #blackpanther