In everyone’s estimation, Chadwick Boseman was a good man who lived a good life. As an actor, he was engaging, relentless in his pursuit of perfection, and dogged in his determination to bring every character he played to life. As a man, he was principled, honest, true to his beliefs, and gave all glory to God.
While Boseman will likely be remembered for his lead role in Black Panther, along with a string of other characters he portrayed, he will also be remembered for his shocking death. Shocking because he was only 43, but even more stunning because no one even knew he had been battling colon cancer for four years.
No one knew because Boseman led a private life, one in which he secretly married his love – no Hollywood fanfare or cover stories. One in which he spent his days enduring cancer treatments and the ensuing sickness, yet showed up for work with a smile on his face, ready to give it his all. In fact, he cranked out seven movies after his diagnosis, never sharing his pain with his co-stars. One in which he spoke publicly about the suffering of young cancer patients, never once alluding to his own.
Boseman shared, I’m sure, with the people who mattered most in his life. He understood that his private life needed to stay there, and that his public speeches were opportunities to uplift and inspire. When he had a moment in the spotlight, he used it to honor others, to show his gratitude to God, and to motivate.
A recent revelation that might explain a portion of Boseman’s gratitude focused on Denzel Washington, with whom he’s been compared in the past. When Boseman attended Howard University, he was accepted to the British American Drama’s Academy Midsummer program, a summer abroad that he could not afford. His mentor at Howard, who just happened to be Phylicia Rashad of The Cosby Show fame, reached out to her friend Denzel Washington and shared the need. Washington promptly financed the tuition for Boseman. From there, the rest is a string of hit movies, Black Panther fame, and major acting kudos.
It reminds me of the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) and God’s expectation that we won’t just take the gifts he is given us and squander them. Instead, he expects us to grow them, multiply them, and use them to His good.
Boseman did just that, and the outpouring of sentiments and praise he has received after his death is a testament to the man he was while he was alive. People recognize a gentleman. They may not like the word “Christian” but they sure do like the way a good Christian lives his life. Boseman spoke openly about his faith. Regarding his gift from Washington, he said, “When God has something for you, it doesn’t matter who stands against it. God will move someone that’s holding you back away from a door and put someone there who will open it for you if it’s meant for you.”
Boseman didn’t just walk through those open doors, he danced through them. And now he has his ultimate reward.
Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.