Los Angeles (USA), Aug 28 . .- From the musical hurricane of James Brown to the myth of baseball Jackie Robinson passing first of all through the invincible black hero Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman represented the African-American pride in a Hollywood of the century XXI which is still a long way from racial equality on the big screen.
Although the iconic Marvel superhero was the role that gave him worldwide fame, with the powerful arms crossed salute as the leader of Wakanda, the career of Boseman, who died this Friday at age 43 due to cancer, also highlighted for his portrayal of African American legends of all kinds.
From fiction to reality, these iconic characters placed him at the forefront of a new generation of black artists willing to stand up to racism inside and outside the cinema.
“To solve a problem you have to deal with it directly, although in this case the situation comes from the beginning of Hollywood with racist films like ‘The Birth of a Nation’ (1915),” Boseman said in an interview with Efe in 2016.
“Those kinds of painful images for the African American population have continued throughout history. Today, minorities have spoken out and made it clear that they want better roles. That is why the debate on diversity must continue and the change in the industry needs to happen, “he added.
The actor was born in Anderson, a city in South Carolina (USA), and his first forays into the world of acting came with a play that he wrote and starred during high school about a classmate who had died in a shooting.
Boseman simmered his career and trained in the United States (Howard University in Washington) and the United Kingdom (British American Drama Academy in Oxford).
His first television role came in 2003 in the series “Third Watch” as an adult in his early thirties.
And little by little he made a niche for himself: he made his film debut with “The Express” (2008) and got important characters in the series “Lincoln Heights” (2008-2009) and “Persons Unknown” (2010).
Boseman’s life turned upside down when he got the opportunity in “42” (2013) to play Jackie Robinson, the eternal star of baseball who was the first African-American to play in the modern era of MLB.
Under the direction of Brian Helgeland and accompanied by an actor of the stature of Harrison Ford, “42” opened the doors to “Draft Day” (2014), another sports-themed film with Kevin Costner in front and where he gave life to a promise of american football.
His serious face, hoarse voice and imposing presence before the camera marched wonderfully with the praiseworthy tone and mythology that are often articulated in Hollywood biographical films, so very soon after he was chosen to step into the shoes of a true titan of music. and an absolute benchmark of “black power” like James Brown in “Get on Up” (2014).
This Tate Taylor film was not very lucky at the box office, but critics and audiences alike agreed to surrender to Boseman’s passionate performance in a major challenge to recreate someone as chameleonic, powerful and outlandish as James Brown.
Although he still had time to recreate in “Marshall” (2017) another historical figure such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American judge of the United States Supreme Court, Boseman achieved the status of a great Hollywood figure when Marvel crossed his path to take him to the black paradise of Wakanda.
His debut as Black Panther in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) was just a succulent appetizer of what would come with “Black Panther” (2018), the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with a black as the protagonist.
African-American filmmaker Ryan Coogler assembled a splendid cast around Boseman (Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright …) for a blockbuster showcasing black pride, which smashed the box office with $ 1,347 million , which caused a great impact on American society, and which channeled into fiction the anti-racist claims of movements like Black Lives Matter.
Along the way, “Black Panther” also made history by becoming the first film in the superhero subgenre to be nominated for an Oscar for best picture (it won the statuettes for best soundtrack, best costumes, and best production design).
Boseman suddenly became a global symbol for young black people.
But it was not only because of the Marvel tapes (he appeared in the triumphant diptych “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame”, 2018-2019), since, for example, in June he was seen in the demonstrations in Los Angeles (USA) after the death at the hands of the Police of the African American George Floyd.
The action of “21 Bridges” (2019) and Spike Lee’s very recent anti-war allegation in “Da 5 Bloods” (2020) were the last two titles of a Boseman that leaves “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, adaptation of the work of the African American August Wilson and where he shared scenes with Viola Davis.