The outpouring of public condolences following last month’s unexpected death of Chadwick Boseman included a veritable who’s who in Hollywood. But Lupita Nyong’o, who famously starred alongside Boseman in the global blockbuster hit, “Black Panther,” was not among them; that is, until Tuesday, when she posted a moving, heartfelt eulogy mourning the death of “my friend,” making social media users who read it a collective emotional wreck.
Nyong’o was among Boseman’s friends and family paying their respects over the weekend to the actor who died Aug. 28 from colon cancer, a sickness he had been secretly living with for years. Boseman’s memorial was held in Malibu, California, and attended by his wife as well as “Black Panther” co-stars Michael B. Jordan and Winston Duke.
Everybody grieves in his or her own way, which is why Jordan took a week or so to post his own tribute to Boseman on Instagram, saying in part, “I’ve been reflecting on every moment, every conversation, every laugh, every disagreement, every hug…everything. I wish we had more time.” On Tuesday, it was Nyong’o’s turn to honor “the beloved,” as she referred to him in a tweet.
“I write these words from a place of hopelessness, to honor a man who had great hope. I am struggling to think and speak about my friend, Chadwick Boseman, in the past tense. It doesn’t make sense. The news of his passing is a punch to my gut every morning,” she wrote in part.
“I am aware that we are all mortal, but you come across some people in life that possess a immortal energy, that seem like they have existed before, that are exactly where they are supposed to always be – here! … that seem ageless…. Chadwick was one of those people,” she continued.
Read the full post here.
Boseman’s death brought universal praise of him as a man and as an actor. But it also reinforced an unfortunate truth: Black people are disproportionately diagnosed with colon cancer in a trend that also has heightened implications for Black men, in particular.
Some of the well known Black people who have been diagnosed with colon cancer include Herman Cain — who recently died from complications from the coronavirus — comedian Paul Mooney, singer Teddy Pendergrass, podcaster Combat Jack and reality TV star Gregg Leakes.
More than 40 percent of Black people account for all new colon cancer diagnoses. But the rate increases significantly when broken down along gender lines. Data shows that at 47.6 percent, nearly half of Black men accounted for all new cases of colon cancer. That is in comparison to 41.2 percent for white men. The same difference is true for Black women, who have a rate of 35.1 percent compared to 31.9 percent for white women.
There may not be a cure, but the CDC recommends people get colorectal cancer screening tests beginning at around the age of 50. However, that recommended age may need to be adjusted, considering Boseman was only 43 when he died after first being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016.
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