As a lifelong fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, and superheroes, I am deeply crestfallen by the shocking news of the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman from colon cancer at the age of 43.
But while remiss at this tremendous loss of a gifted, rising young actor who already accomplished so much and had a positively bright future ahead of him, both in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beyond, I am very encouraged by the outpouring of tributes to him from his colleagues, peers, fans, and admirers. It is a powerful testament to the impact he had and will continue to have on minority children and adults for decades to come.
Although he had served as an inspiring role model by portraying real-life African-American pioneers such as Major League Baseball player Jackie Robinson, R&B singer James Brown, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, it is his turn as the fictional Marvel superhero Black Panther, in his own movie as well as several other Marvel films, that continues to be a source of pride and aspiration for people of color in America and around the world.
One small way to honor the memory of Chadwick Boseman is to listen to the Grammy and Academy Award-winning Black Panther soundtrack, one of the best superhero and general motion picture scores of all time. The potent and formidable musical themes of cultural heritage and pride, heroism, virtue, and strength of character not only beautifully and wonderfully elevate the world of King T'Challa/Black Panther, but also and especially serve as a fitting celebration of the real-life man who played him.