This is not just a message for Chadwick Boseman, King of Wakanda, hero in many of our generation's most important stories, model for, not just Black Excellence, but Human Excellence, a man who took a modest South Carolina upbringing and turned it into a life of the highest quality art and the highest brand of public and personal ethics.
Although, if anyone has earned the right to rest easy, it's him.
This is a message for all of us. All humans.
Today, and perhaps all days, you have earned the right to take a breath. Set down your resentment, your seething anger with most of the world, your intricate, evolving political agenda, your worry, and your battle for worth. Just set it down, in this moment, and truly rest easy. Let everything go in an exhale. Stay with me a while and just take in the hope, the thoughtfulness, the compassion, and the optimistic dedication of a single human man.
Take in the dance of his inner and outer radiance, how they constantly interweave while he speaks. Take in his words, plumbed from a place of deep intention and true reverence. Take in the way he accepts, respects, and never forgets his responsibility as a creative leader who looms larger than most. Lastly, take in the infinite pulse of gratitude in everything he does.
He never wavers, never plays favorites. He is present, kind, and generous in every interview with every type of personality and every big and small question. He is both in love with the work he does and aware of how important it is, from the endless research and punishing schedules of each feature film role to the unwavering commitment in a hastily written SNL sketch.
He is no accidental hero. He is no purveyor of perfectionism. He is a fearlessly vulnerable and humble collaborator. He is an epic listener. A true reflection of the best parts of humanity. He has done more in 43 years to show us our inner potential and infinite, imperfect beauty than most.
I can't speak for everyone, but I think we are so tired of pointing out horrible things and horrible people. I think we're tired of trying to righteously tear each other down, seeking that perfect mic drop that will solve the world's problems. As much as we believe in the gruesome, traumatic fight that inevitably claims innocent lives and scars us for generations, I think we are craving rest from our battles. I think we are craving a moment of peace. A moment of reverence for every good human we've lost, every song we've already sung, and every unspeakably good moment we've witnessed.
Rest. Relax. Smile, even, at what a single, extraordinary human has accomplished in literally every public appearance. Grieve, too. Let it out. Let your heart do what it needs to do without judgment or resistance. Chadwick Boseman spent his long, arduous battle with stage 4 colon cancer, making more and more beautiful, satisfying, thought-provoking art for us to cherish in generations to come. He weaved his way through a money-hungry, image-obsessed, scandal-ridden Hollywood industry, never once forgetting his purpose for doing so. He took all the love and strength and wisdom of his family and portrayed the uniquely African American struggle: being born into a lost, ancient lineage and massive generational trauma, and forging ahead in a society that treats him as less-than in shocking, every day ways. He did this over and over in heroic historical biopics and dutiful press interviews.
He can rest now, and we can rest, in a way, getting to know the work he did and the mentality he brought to every interaction with us, and understanding the sheer breadth of what he accomplished, among us, in some of the craziest years known to human history. As we thumbed through our instagram feeds, taking Boseman for granted as someone who will live to be 100 in our midst, ironically we wondered if such a hero could even exist. We wondered this to ourselves while he brought ever more light to ever more rooms, made ever more glowing impressions on our cynical, tired world. He worked and loved and created tirelessly, while privately fighting cancer, until the very end.
Rest, just for a day or a single moment or a thought. Rest, knowing that such a hero can, and did exist.
*Take the time to watch them all, if you can.