When I saw Chadwick Boseman playing the Godfather of Soul, I had to remind myself that I was watching an actor and not the true Godfather of Soul. He was that good! While all of his roles were amazing, Chadwick Boseman gave us something special with the Black Panther. I will tell you as a black person, it provided a lift only that kind of experience can offer. Yes, a movie starring Black People in positive roles, for sure, but what was it? What was so special?
The Black Panther was a character who was principled, self-aware, kind, responsible, caring, fierce, and unafraid. He honored his parents and cared for his sister and his love interest. He was good. Most importantly, he was a reflection of the black men I have had the pleasure of knowing. Those characteristics I have found in my father, my brothers, colleagues, friends, nephews, cousins and, of course, my husband. I see strong sprouts of all of these things in my son. It was special because that role and his portrayal of the Black Panther reminded me of who we are and what we already have, and reflected it for us on the screen. We got to see ourselves the way we truly are and we needed that.
We will miss you, Chadwick.
Dr. Lisa Toppin
PS: Our theme song on this one has to be “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” by Boyz II Men.