CCBFF Celebrates the Life of Chadwick Boseman and the “Black Panther” Legacy
“To be young, gifted and black, we all know what it’s like to be told that there is not a place for you to be featured, yet you are young, gifted and black.
We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above. And that is what we went to work with every day because we knew — not that we would be around during award season or that it would make a billion dollars, but we knew we had something special that we wanted to give the world. That we could be full human beings in the roles that we were playing, that we could create a world that exemplified a world that we wanted to see.” – Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman’s passing on Friday exacerbated an already difficult year. What already feels extremely difficult to manage, is now seemingly unbearable.
When I think about the impact that “Black Panther” left on the world – especially the Black community – I cannot find the words necessary. I can, however, speak to how much of an impact the film made on us here at Capital City Black Film Festival. When we canceled our event in 2017, I was not sure if there was an opportunity to continue and do what we felt was necessary to support the community of creators that we had cultivated for several years. Our advisors told us that we should press forward. Despite our reluctance, we did just that. We kicked off our returning season with a multi-city screening event of “Black Panther” that not only reinvigorated our desire to continue the festival, it also allowed us to connect with our community. We were uplifted by their enthusiasm and saw the importance the film made on their perception of and connection to our African heritage.
“Black Panther” is an iconic film, a masterpiece that exemplified Black excellence in every sense of the phrase. But what we saw after “Black Panther,” in the unmasked, real-life king Chadwick Boseman, was much more than we expected or asked for. Chadwick was ultimately exactly who we needed to represent our superhero, our King. He realized his purpose, and he continued to inspire audiences with each and every appearance after “Black Panther.” I can only speculate on the driving force behind Chadwick’s resilience, humility, charisma, and ultimately the selflessness that allowed him to operate in service of the needs of our people. But I pray that his sacrifice and his commitment to being our superhero is remembered and celebrated for years to come.
“Black Panther” came at a time when we needed to be reminded of our power and strength. It is that moment in history that encouraged so many of us to lift ourselves up and pursue things that are much greater than we ever imagined. Because of your sacrifice, Chadwick, we are reminded of our everlasting strength and purpose. To your family, friends and all of the fans of your work, we offer our sincere prayers and condolences. In your memory, we will continue to mobilize and empower our community of talented filmmakers across the globe.
Winston G. Williams
CEO and Executive Director, Capital City Black Film Festival