“Crack Panther” Amongst The Horrific Body Shaming Names Chadwick Boseman Was Called While Quietly Fighting Cancer
Recently, the world lost a celebrated individual – someone who was an inspiration and icon to many who, until he arrived, felt like they had no place in an industry dominated by a certain ‘look’. The loss of Chadwick Boseman hit ‘Black Panther’ fans hard. And as his co-stars, celebrities and fans alike share their memories, messages and prayers for the South Carolina born actor, many are also calling out trolls and fake fans who had previously made fun of the actor for his change in appearance.
Memes and tweets about the actor’s weight loss started circulating after he appeared slimmer in a video. The 43-year-old actor posted an IGTV video of himself on his personal Instagram account on April 15th, where he talked about Operation 42, an initiative that aimed to donate medical equipment to the hospitals treating Black communities in the coronavirus-affected areas. However, instead of responding to the late actor’s words of encouragement, many focused on the fact that Boseman looked ill. Some thought that he may have been slimming own for a new role while others simply expressed their shock; others took things too far. Insinuations that he was taking drugs started popping up on social media and in comments on his video. People started putting up memes of him like the one above and many took his iconic role of ‘Black Panther’ to poke fun at him, calling him “Crack Panther” and changing his iconic catchphrase from ‘Wakanda forever’ to ‘Crackanda forever’.
Social media users bullied Chadwick Boseman and called him “Crack Panther” when he lost weight fighting colon cancer. He didn’t want our pity so instead he kept his battle to himself and his family. But he deleted his videos and pictures because of our cruelty on social media.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 29, 2020
It wasn’t just internet trolls that focused on his appearance, but media outlets too. The headlines accompanying images of Boseman out and about were not kind. Following his unexpectedly controversial IGTV video, The Sun published an article titled…
‘SAD CHAD Avengers’ Chadwick Boseman looks glum as he runs errands after fans worry over his dramatic weight loss’
The accompanying image was of the late actor being an Apple TV. Other articles describe Boseman as “deathly skinny” and “unhealthy skinny”.
Chadwick Boseman died after battling colon cancer for years and just months ago tabloids were making puns over his rapid weight loss and describing him as “deathly skinny” as though “shedding a few extra pounds” were a choice…. and not a literal side effect of his illness pic.twitter.com/1c8jXzy2ss
— Michelle Rennex (@michellerennex) August 29, 2020
Little did we know, his fluctuating weight was the result of four years of a hard-fought battle. Having kept quiet about the fact that he had colon cancer, it was only when his family announced his passing did the world know that Chadwick Boseman had been fighting for his life against stage IV colon cancer.
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It is with immeasurable grief that we confirm the passing of Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, and battled with it these last 4 years as it progressed to stage IV. A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From Marshall to Da 5 Bloods, August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and several more, all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in Black Panther. He died in his home, with his wife and family by his side. The family thanks you for your love and prayers, and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time. Photo Credit: @samjonespictures
As people look at more and more of his older interviews and media appearances, the discovery that Boseman had hinted at his condition more than once is both chilling and sad. One interview in particular with the Huffington Post, back in 2017 stands out. In it, the interviewer asked Boseman about weight issues when it comes to having to bulk up and slim down for the roles he had to play. When the interviewer commented that it must have been hard, Boseman responded…
Oh, you don’t even know. You have no idea. One day I’ll live to tell the story.”
How did we miss it? When will we learn to be kind without having to learn from someone’s loss? Even in his passing, Boseman taught us a valuable lesson – always, always be kind.