Today Black TV Film Crew mourns the loss of actor and writer Chadwick Boseman. As reported by many media outlets, he succumbed to colon cancer after a 4-year battle. We fell in love with the actor’s work after seeing him portray historical African American icons James Brown, and Jackie Robinson but it was his portrayal of King T’Challa in Black Panther that truly inspired us.

I wanted to write this letter to him to share how we feel.

Dear Chadwick, 

My son and I went to see you on opening weekend in Black Panther. For a mom, raising a teenage son, you were everything I wanted my son to see and more. Superhero movies with all of their strength, flash, and courage to fight evil were always portrayed by the White boys. No shade though. We got love for Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth. But when we saw you on that big screen… Chadwick as T’Challa… our eyes became as big as our hearts. We loved the dignity with which you carried the character and the grace in which you moved. 

At times we held hands in the movie, we wanted to make sure we weren’t dreaming.

I remember stealing glances at my son as the movie played. His grin was wide and his eyes were wider. At times we held hands in the movie, we wanted to make sure we weren’t dreaming. King T’Challa was handsome, intelligent, witty, protective and as cool as all the other Marvel superheroes. Probably cooler. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, he had some melanin. Indeed. He was a sexy chocolate bar, a tall mocha latte, some man candy with bright white teeth. For Black single women watching Black Panther, T’Challa was a dream—the man you wished would hit you up on Facebook for the digits—the man you wished would slide into your IG DMs. 

But, I’m not gonna reduce your essence to your physical attributes. No, you are far more superior than that. The way you carried your Black Panther role and all the others with such excellence inspired all who watched. Whether you were playing James Brown or Jackie Robinson, watching you was magic. Magic. And off the screen too. 

Your way with words. The way you spoke. Always articulate. Always elevating us. To borrow a phrase from WEB DuBois, “You were a credit to your race.” 

There were so many more films we wanted to see you as the star.

Today I speak for myself, my son and all the Black TV Film Crew family when I say, we are gonna miss you terribly. There were so many more films we wanted to see you as the star. There were so many more dreams we wanted to have because of some outfit you wore on the red carpet. There were so many more kids whose faces needed to light up because they saw one of your performances. 

You’ve taken the phrase, “Gone too soon,” and you have underscored it, made it bold and put exclamations behind it. You, sir, were worthy of at least fifty more years. We love you Chadwick and we’re gonna miss you. 

On the day we heard of Chadwick’s passing, we were doing an Instagram Live. Here’s raw reaction of the action moment I heard of him passing. It’s toward the end of the clip.

Yasmin Shiraz
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Yasmin Shiraz

Yasmin Shiraz is a Screenwriter and TV producer who has worked for Lifetime, A&E, Bravo and PBS. She’s a best selling author of more than 11 titles and the founder of Black TV Film Crew. She is the CEO of Still Eye Rise Media.

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