Warning: This blog includes content of a potentially upsetting nature.
Chadwick Boseman was born in 1976 in South Carolina and went on to attend Howard University in Washington, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. He then attended the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England.
He was known for his portrayals of Jackie Robinson in ’42’ and James Brown in ‘Get on Up’ and he also played the iconic superhero Black Panther. He was the breath of fresh air the film industry needed, blazing a new path by playing historical Black American figures, as well as bringing diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
He was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2016, and for four years her persevered and continued to work as the cancer progressed, choosing to keep his diagnosis and treatment a secret from colleagues and directors.
When I woke up on 28 August 2020 to the news that Chadwick Boseman had died I was surprised by the depth of my sorrow.
I felt loss. And I’ll admit it – I cried, which is something I have never done before in response to the death of someone I didn’t personally know.
I still can’t put my finger on what it was that caused that reaction. Was it because of what he represented to the Black community as a result of playing the role of the Black Panther? Was it because he was a father who left a family behind? Was it because he was so close in age to me? Was it the surprise and shock of it all? I might never know.
But what I do know is that I found the next few hours on social media harrowing. His death, his face was every where I turned. It was every other post, every other story. I had to log out for 48 hours for my own mental health.
Similarly when Chrissy Teigen and John Legend shared the story of and photos from their miscarriage, I felt so triggered.
It took me to a really dark place as I’m sure it did for many others who have experienced a similar loss. I was sitting in the living room and I remember my sister asking if I was ok and I just started to cry. I needed 72 hours offline for that one.
Why am I telling you this? Today is World Mental Health Day and I want to say that we all struggle with our mental health from time to time. Me too.
But when I struggle I always find it helps to talk to one of the superheroes in my life. The kind that Chadwick Boseman references in my quote today: “Receiving an award for playing a superhero is amazing, but it’s even greater to acknowledge the heroes that we have in real life”.
If you are are struggling please find your superheroes. I could be one. Or a friend. Or a GP. Or a Samaritan or someone at the end of a helpline.
Or maybe you can be that superhero for yourself by recognising what you need and getting it for yourself – taking time out, going out in nature, getting a mani, pedi or massage or whatever works for you.
But please don’t be afraid to get help and to ask for help if you need it.
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