T’Challa Is A Real Leader

We all know a story of some actor whose real life personality is nothing like the role they play on TV. We are 2 degrees separated from the actress who plays “Darlene” on Ozarks. We hear she’s the sweetest lady ever in real life. On the show, she’d shoot your balls off. I remember once reading about the actress who plays “Suzy” on Curb Your Enthusiasm. She lives in Brooklyn and apparently whenever she gets recognized in public, fans just ask her to curse. Just say “Larry, you four-eyed f_ck!”. In reality, she couldn’t be any further from Jeff Garlin’s caustic wife on the show.

Well this weekend, we were pretty bummed about Chadwick Boseman’s passing. Covid season has meant a lot of Marvel movies on loop. Max was in a phase for awhile where he’d declare “Wakanda forever” before leaving the room. I’m not familiar with Boseman’s body of work other than Black Panther but his portrayal of T’Challa stands so tall. He’s magnetic, charming and inspiring. You cannot help but feel that Boseman’s real life character is bleeding through. You wouldn’t want to discover the negative version of the “Darlene” or “Suzy” surprises.

Fortunately, the man, Chadwick Boseman, would make T’Challa proud. Some of my favorite discoveries:

  • The “Black” Jeopardy SNL skit (Link)
  • Boseman talking about his relationship to kids with terminal cancer. He was quietly battling Stage 4 colon cancer during this interview. I’m not crying, you’re crying. (Link)
  • A 90 second clip from a commencement speech he gave. I’m sure you don’t need to be religious to hear the message. Last 30 seconds were especially resonant. (Link)

Public discourse, by its nature, promotes glory and underappreciates silent heroism. It’s why the Humans of New York project you see on social media is so special. It’s about the unheralded. Appreciating the day-to-day struggle that people privately deal with makes the world feel more relatable. It connects us in ways that we need more of. I’ve mentioned this in various ways in Antidote to Abstraction and my eyerolly take Avoid Boring People?.

Boseman was a celeb who provided a rare example of silent leadership.

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