The world lost an icon and a hero when Chadwick Boseman died of cancer last month. However, while most of us only felt like we knew the man, Boseman had a family that has lost somebody very special. Recently, Chadwick Boseman's brother spoke about what it's like to lose his brother, especially when that brother meant so much to so many people. While the outpouring of support is clearly appreciated, it seems it's also made it somewhat difficult for Kevin Boseman to remember his brother.
Chadwick Boseman played Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and Black Panther on screen. He was, by any definition, playing heroes, and in doing so Boseman was viewed as a hero himself by many people. Kevin Boseman, Chadwick's older brother, recently told the New York Times that he has been taking the last several weeks to try and remember his brother as just that. He wants to remember the man that he knew, not the Hollywood icon that Chadwick Boseman had become. in Kevin Boseman's words...
I have been trying to remember Chad and not Chadwick. And there’s just been a lot of Chadwick in the air. You have to start sharing that person with the world; I always endeavored to just treat him like my brother.
A lot of people who didn't know Chadwick Boseman personally have been talking about how important he was as a public figure. While there's nothing wrong with that, it sounds like it's actually been somewhat difficult for Kevin Boseman to remember the person he knew his Chad, the man that was his little brother for most of his life. It's easy to get wrapped up in the public persona of a celebrity, even when that celebrity is family.
It's good to be reminded that while Chadwick Boseman absolutely was an inspiration to a lot of people, he was also a man. He was a brother and a son and a friend to people, many of him knew him for decades before the rest of us knew his name. Chadwick Boseman probably appreciated the fact that his brother Kevin tried to just treat him like a brother. It was a relationship he wasn't going to have anyplace else. Part of what made Chadwick Boseman so inspirational to so many was the way that he seemed to be grounded and real. That relationship with his family was probably a big part of why that was the case.
Millions of movie fans still lost a truly great icon, but Chadwick Boseman's family lost someone more. Those of us who only knew the performances will be able to see those again anytime we want to remember. Chadwick Boseman's family won't really have the same luxury. They'll be able to see the man anytime they want, but he won't be Chad.