The Black Panther star's untimely death, reveals how much Nigerians revered the American actor
When Black Panther came out, Nigerians celebrated in style, flocking to theatres wearing a mix of traditional dress and Afrofuturistic looks, identifying with the portrayal of a strong and prosperous African nation, and the hero who lead them.
"Seeing us exude power and strength, seeing our culture, our high fashion sense portrays us in a different light," local actress Ijeoma Grace Agu told Reuters, summing up the festive mood of the film's release at a Lekki theatre.
Many Nigerians saw Chadwick Boseman as a hero. The Black Panther star was the face of a film that serves as a symbol of cross-cultural Black/African representation on a global stage, one that drew influences from many parts of Africa, including Nigeria.
Chadwick's heroism, which transcends his iconic role as T'challa in Black panther, into the way he affected many Black lives around him and beyond, has been highlighted so many times when talking about the life he lived before his death. A look at the overwhelmingly emotional response to the news of his death from all over the world, even in Nigeria is a testament to his legacy.
Chadwick meant a great deal to Black people around the world, all of whom have been connected not just by his magnetic performance on Black Panther, but the grace he exuded and the unimaginable strength by which he carried himself, delivering stellar performances Black people will forever cherish, while undergoing multiple surgeries and treatments for his illness.
In 2016, Chadwick was diagnosed with colon cancer, but never made it public knowledge. Tributes from around the world poured in following the announcement of his death on Saturday, 29 August. From Former American President Barack Obama to current vice-president aspirant in the United States' elections Kamala Harris, to colleagues Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Angela Bassett to mention a few. Chadwick's absence left a great hole around the world, and amongst fans in Nigeria.
This is how Nigerians on Twitter reacted to it.
Some of us were and are still reeling from how much his death affected us.
This man whom i had never met, seen or had a conversation with feels more familiar to me than a stranger. I am mour… https://t.co/srLyKyjxtf— Artwhore (@Artwhore)1598685824.0
Some people urged us all to be more empathetic.
It’s so crazy how Chadwick Boseman was cyber bullied for his appearance and whole time he was battling cancer. We g… https://t.co/Vs3haOiYQx— Fawaz Olaseni Adeniji (@Fawaz Olaseni Adeniji)1598668423.0
People don’t have to be “going through anything behind closed doors” to be worthy of your kindness. Just be kind fo… https://t.co/TolXkTcutw— Jellybum (JB of Lagos) (@Jellybum (JB of Lagos))1598694094.0
Other people who could relate to the pain Chadwick endured while he was alive and doing his best to deliver his iconic roles
Among other terrible diseases, my father suffered from both Lung Cancer and Leukaemia when he died. Cancer is the… https://t.co/spfG2Pp54r— Ndi Kato (@Ndi Kato)1598693940.0
Omo my dad died from colon cancer. That fucker goes after you with a vengeance. Man could barely carry himself. Th… https://t.co/rBL2nqOpBY— Sandra Ezekwesili (@Sandra Ezekwesili)1598696251.0
Then there were the tributes.
While Chadwick Boseman was fighting Erik Killmonger in Black Panther and Thanos in Avengers, he was also fighting S… https://t.co/jGEZxNIg6r— Lola Okunrin (@Lola Okunrin)1598689544.0
Chadwick Boseman will never know how much we loved him. Battling colon cancer, shooting films in b/w bouts of chemo… https://t.co/yZDeoefpOK— Stephanie Busari (@Stephanie Busari)1598688620.0
Black Panther wasn’t just a movie, it was a movement for black people, and Chadwick Boseman made that happen🙏🙏 Res… https://t.co/tdq9yFPmOE— Zic 🇳🇬 (@Zic 🇳🇬)1598692935.0
Chadwick Boseman's life and role as an actor is an inspiration. Imagine the millions of children of colour whose d… https://t.co/2AJrD8ObQJ— Rayo Kasali - The Aether (@Rayo Kasali - The Aether)1598673336.0
While it is deeply sad to have to pay tributes instead of watching Chadwick see the powerful impact of his work while getting all his flowers, we are grateful for the work he left behind, the inspiration behind his strength and the many great ways by which we can remember him.