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The Black Panther + Jesus

August 31, 2020

Chadwick Boseman, the man who played the Black Panther, Jackie Robinson, among other amazing roles, died over the weekend. You probably knew this already.

I’m a Marvel fiend, largely because of Chadwick. Black Panther was the tipping point for me. Yeah, I know Marvel movies have been around for a long time, and though I’d seen/enjoyed most of them, Black Panther was the first Marvel film I walked out of feeling like I could take on the world. I couldn’t put my finger on why. Many of my black friends were thrilled to have quality, legit representation and inspiration on the big screen. I was happy for them, but as white guy, there’s no way I could fully relate.

Then it hit me this weekend as I read up on who Chadwick was as a person, not a super hero. When the role of Black Panther was cast, the movie’s makers wanted somebody “Christlike.” As Spike Lee put it, “That character is Christlike … there’s light from heaven coming down from above on him.” In the minds of the Marvel folks, Chadwick was the natural embodiment of Christlike qualities. “You hear people say this all the time … but he was the only choice,” Marvel producer Kevin Feige said.

Simple, yet profound. This is why billions of people like me walked out of Black Panther feeling some kind of way. Why we’re mourning today. And hopefully, why we’re inspired.

There’s power when Jesus works strongly yet humbly through you, no matter what setting you’re in. If you were moved by Mr. Boseman’s work, you’ve tasted the impact.

Rest in Heavenly peace, Chadwick.