HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — With the death of actor Chadwick Boseman, friends and fans continue to express their love and grief with a memorial in his hometown of Anderson, South Carolina.
But at the same time, as America mourns the Black Panther actor, it’s also facing a reckoning about its race relations. To talk about this intersection in our history, Spectrum News 1 anchor Lisa McRee met up with LA Times columnist LZ Granderson at a cultural intersection on Hollywood Boulevard.
What You Need To Know
- Chadwick Boseman carried himself with dignity even while battling cancer
- Boseman went to the same gym as LA Times columnist LZ Granderson and never missed a workout, even when he was ill
- He refused to play stereotypical roles in Hollywood, and when he got to play historical characters like Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and James Brown, he was able to pull them off so effortlessly
- An "All Black Lives Matter" mural will have a permanent spot on Hollywood Blvd., in front of the theater where Black Panther premiered
Everybody agrees there was something about the way Boseman carried himself with such dignity while battling cancer and shooting four movies.
"I was surprised that no one knew," said Granderson. "But then I did some calling around, and Chadwick and I used to work out at the same boutique gym, so I would see him quite often. The reason I bring up the gym is that I spoke to the person who owns the gym, and they told me Chadwick never missed a session. The trainer couldn’t tell he was ill. To know that Chadwick was in that gym, working that hard to the point in which that trainer didn't know he was physically ill, tells you that it wasn’t just about the grace that he lived with this illness, but a relentless determination."
Granderson was there during the premiere of Black Panther on Hollywood Boulevard in 2018. He says it was one of the most beautiful nights of his life because he got to interact with the cast. He felt a sense of pride, and the whole experience felt like a family reunion.
"I’ve never seen a red carpet like that, in which you had the kaleidoscope of humanity and such brilliant colors and celebration," he said.
Boseman’s portrayals of historical figures felt so genuine and real because he lived his life with the same dignity as his characters. “He talked often about not being satisfied with playing the typical Hollywood game, where extremely talented Black men will be pigeonholed in these stereotypical representations of Black people,” said Granderson.
When it came time for him to play characters like Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson, and James Brown, Boseman was able to pull them off effortlessly.
And now, seeing a mural on Hollywood Boulevard in honor of "All Black Lives Matter" has been incredible for Granderson.
“This is the starting point of where All Black Lives Matter rally happened," he said. "And I remember being in this space thinking, 'I wish we could capture this moment forever.' And it’s amazing to see this mural here because that’s exactly what happened. There were people from the LGBTQ community who previously weren't very visible for Black Lives Matter. There were so many people of different races who normally weren’t present when these protests were happening. But they were all here filling these streets because they agreed with everyone else that enough is enough."
Granderson continued, "It was important to put the phrase 'All Black Lives Matter' into the mural because, even within the body of the African American community, there are gaps, and not everyone was getting equal coverage — especially when it comes to our trans brothers and sisters. We know what the statistics are. We know the death rate. So, sometimes America needs to be reminded of the smallest of things, the simplest of concepts. Sometimes we have memorials for honoring, sometimes we have memorials for celebration, and sometimes you need memorials for reminders. And, hopefully, as motorists, as tourists come here, they’re reminded that All Black Lives Matter."