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Don’t Weaponize Chadwick Boseman’s Death to Shame People

I want us to be careful about how we are using Chadwick Boseman’s death as life lessons. One of the things that I saw was somebody saying “Whenever you want to come up with an excuse, think about Chadwick Boseman” and that didn’t sit right with my spirit.

I get what we’re trying to say. But I want us to be careful about using that man’s story and weaponizing it to make others feel bad for not working through pain, terminal illnesses, disabilities, or even just a bad day.

I want us to not use his death as a way to shame people who decide to choose rest over pushing through. Chadwick’s strength and resolve are admirable. But that’s not everybody’s story and journey. That’s not everybody’s capacity. Whatever superhuman strength he found to do five action movies as he’s dealing with cancer should not be anybody else’s expectation. It should not be anybody else’s story, unless the person needs it to be their story.

Source: Everett Collection

Let us not use Chadwick’s death and what feels like such an early passing as a way to make other people feel bad about not being able to show up in whatever way we expect them to. Everybody ain’t meant to push through pain. Some people can’t get out of bed right now because they’re doing chemotherapy. Some people can’t get out of bed because they have a silent chronic illness that makes it really hard. Some people are going to call into work and say, “I can’t make it today simply because I don’t have the mental capacity to get out of bed.” Their lives and their journey and their pain is still valid.

Let us not now use this whole grind, grind, grind mentality, and let us not use Chadwick’s story to tell other people that their pain is not valid or their pain is not enough where their choice to sit at home and rest is not valid. Like I need us to not also shame ourselves. Like it ain’t even just about shaming other people. Let us not shame ourselves when we are not able to get something done or follow through on something because of whatever pain that we’re going through. We’re not all meant to be superheroes. None of us should put this thing on ourselves.

It is, it just worries me that now the whole thing is going to be like, “Do you have the Chadwick strength to make it?” Maybe you don’t that day and that’s fine.

So I just want us to be gentle with ourselves, each other and the lessons that we pull from somebody else’s life can be lessons for ourselves personally. They might not be the same lesson for everybody. But also I want us to not be ableist in the process and be like, “You can do it, look at Chadwick!”

Bruh. We don’t know that man’s story. We just know that he passed. We don’t know all the days that he pushed himself through that he even realized he wasn’t supposed to. We don’t know and can’t pull all these things like, “Well, if he could have done it, you should have to.”

We don’t know his real journey. And we are not entitled to know, right? It’s not for us to know. But also we should not use his journey as a way to make others feel bad about themselves, to make ourselves feel bad about themselves.

Everybody’s journey is different. So that’s what I wanted to say.


This post is a transcript of my rant on IGTV, below.

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1 Comment

  1. FiFi Smith
    September 22, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    Mrs. Luvvie, I’m crying right now, because what you said spoke volumes to me. I live daily with some illnesses and they try me really, really hard at times. Days I don’t feel like getting out of bed, getting my grandbaby ready for school, going to work, washing dishes, cooking, I don’t feel like breathing, some days I can hardly breathe. BUT I FIGHT!!! I fight in little ways, in medium ways, sometimes God blesses me to FIGHT in like David did. When He does, I’m so thankful!!! But I have always felt guilty about giving in and sometimes even giving up the fight for the day and just lay, just be still. NOW, I don’t have to feel guilty anymore and I won’t feel guilty anymore. THANK YOU.