42 Days Later
It’s been 48 days and the world still mourns the loss of an inspiration. Chadwick Boseman passed away from complications due to colon cancer on August 28th with his family by his side and left behind a legacy to many that may never be matched. Boseman always rose to expectations when performing iconic roles that included the likes of Black Panther, James Brown in Get on Up, Thurgood Marshall, Andre Davis in 21 Bridges, and Norman Earl Holloway in Da 5 Bloods. Boseman was also no stranger when it came to sports movies having played Vontae Mack in Draft Day, and Floyd Little in The Express. Amongst all of these roles, I re-watched one movie in particular that encapsulates a lot of what Boseman meant to many communities: 42.
I watched 42 and release this article exactly 42 days after Boseman’s burial, and everything about the movie has hit different and harder since I first watched it years ago. Just like every film Boseman was in, all his cards were on the table and you could feel his emotion and dedication through the screen. In a riveting performance, Boseman plays Jackie Robinson and breaks the color barrier in baseball with his manager and his wife on his side pushing him towards changing the world. Robinson’s story has been told hundreds of times to sports fans and maybe non-sports fans alike but watching 42 puts a whole new lens on it. Boseman takes brutal physical, verbal, social, mental, and emotional punishment from all angles as Robinson and as an audience member, you actually have a chance to understand what Robinson experienced. Boseman does such an excellent job portraying the fight. I was always told Robinson took the hits and never retaliated but until I watched this film years ago, and rewatched it today, did I realize how hard it was. I will never understand the fight that so many have had to go through, but Boseman’s performance helps fill some gaps and also provide inspiration to a new generation; a generation that did not get to witness Robinson’s greatness and the reason baseball has a Jackie Robinson Day every year; a generation that doesn’t feel the gravity of why 42 has been retired in baseball. It is even more powerful and heart-wrenching that Boseman’s passing this year occurred on Jackie Robinson Day. A day that would normally occur in April, but in this year that has rearranged and wrecked schedules and lives to all hell and has taken away so many heroes dear to us, Jackie Robinson Day traveled with the rest of the MLB season into August.
This year has taken away so much. You may have lost someone close to you during this pandemic, you may have lost someone you love this year, and this year has been horrible for having heroes. This year and every year will try to tear you down one way or another, and Boseman knew that when he said, “Sometimes you need to get knocked down before you can really figure out what your fight is and how you need to fight it.” Boseman’s characters in all of his films are faced with adversity, and it is up to them and the people standing with them to push through, stick together, and be strong. Jackie Robinson pushed through and went on to be a Civil Rights icon first, and a baseball legend second. Boseman will be remembered as an inspiration first, and an actor second. Boseman may no longer be with us here physically but has left behind a perfect example of how to spread joy and love everywhere you go.
“I think you realize how much you need to have people that you love. It’s not as much about them loving you – it’s about you needing to love people”.
-Chadwick Boseman November 29th, 1976-August 28th, 2020
— Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) August 29, 2020