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Chadwick Boseman: success from South Carolina

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The town of Summerville, South Carolina is neither a charmingly tiny nor big and bustling community. It is quite average in terms of population, and although its location is near one of the south’s most well-known cities, Charleston, Summerville is not exactly a nationally-known town.

Many people enjoy the slower-paced, calmer day-to-day happenings in towns like Summerville in contrast to bigger cities like Chicago or Seattle, but others, including students here at Summerville High School, dream of more.

World-famous actor Chadwick Boseman was once one of these people.

Anderson, Boseman’s hometown, is a three hour drive from Summerville in upstate South Carolina. It was there that the actor wrote his first play, entitled Crossroads, while he attended T.L. Hanna High School.

Back then, Boseman was simply an ambitious student with talent just waiting to be put into action, much like many students at Summerville High.

Boseman left South Carolina after graduating high school in 1995, and began working in television by 2003. His first film appearance was in “The Express” in 2008, but his first well-known role was as Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic “42”.

Most people will recognize Boseman, however, from the recent hit Marvel movie “Black Panther” that was released Feb. 16, 2018, in which he played the title character.

“Black Panther” is third when it comes to the most earnings from Marvel movies and has already surpassed fan favorites such as “Captain America: Civil War” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” with over $704 million in box office earnings for the US so far. The movie’s immense success is only growing as it just finished its third weekend in theaters.

Chadwick Boseman’s involvement in this triumph of a project is a win in several ways.

South Carolina is definitely proud of Boseman as a representative of our state.

As a southern state South Carolina is not known as an excessively progressive state. In an interview with People Magazine, “Black Panther’s” leading man recounted racism he experienced in South Carolina both as he grew up and when he came back to visit.

“I would see the Klan holding rallies in a Walmart car park… Shooting Black Panther and then driving past the Klan —that’s what change feels like,” Boseman commented on his visits back to SC while filming in Atlanta, during which he witnessed meetings of the Ku Klux Klan. 

“I would see the Klan holding rallies in a Walmart car park… Shooting Black Panther and then driving past the Klan —that’s what change feels like,””

— Chadwick Boseman

“[Racism is] not hard to find in South Carolina. Going to high school, I’d see Confederate flags on trucks,” he continued, recounting his teenage years.

Chadwick Boseman has definitely come a long way since he was just a South Carolina teen. “Black Panther” is the first film in history to feature a black superhero as the leading character. In fact, “Black Panther’s” cast (consisting of immensely popular actors such as Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya, and Marvel movie alumnus Michael B. Jordan who previously starred as Johnny Storm in the 2015 “Fantastic Four” film) is composed of mainly African American actors. This is a big win considering the unfortunate lack of diversity that Hollywood is usually associated with (to see more about the diversity problems in Hollywood, check out this infographic).

Showing support for his native state, Boseman bought tickets for underprivileged youth to attend a showing of “Black Panther” in his hometown of Anderson. Over 300 kids were able to see the movie, along with 460 of Boseman’s family members and close friends.

Boseman continues to prove his level of success in Hollywood, as he presented at the 90th Oscars ceremony yesterday, where fellow South Carolina native Viola Davis also presented.

Make sure to catch “Black Panther” while it is still in theaters to support Chadwick Boseman and his revolutionary role, or buy it on DVD, as it is estimated to be released in May 2018.

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The student news site of Summerville High School.
Chadwick Boseman: success from South Carolina