Chadwick Boseman's Final Social Media Posts Before Passing Away

Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman privately fought colon cancer for four years, yet even as the acclaimed actor battled for his own life, he spent his final months advocating for social justice and trying to protect front-line workers from COVID-19. Boseman died at age 43 on Aug. 28, 2020, but his final social media messages capture the character of a man who served as a superhero both on and off the screen.

In a video posted to Boseman's Instagram on April 15, 2020 — Jackie Robinson Day — many fans were shocked by the actor's gaunt appearance. Boseman had reportedly not talked publicly about his cancer diagnosis. He didn't address it in that stirring video either. Instead, Boseman trained the spotlight on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on essential workers, particularly minority communities. 

"The statistics for COVID-19 have shown that the African-American community has been hit the hardest. The Latino community has been hit the hardest. And that's partially because we're the front-line workers. We're the ones still going to work. We're the ones still driving the buses," he said. "...In the medical field, we're the EMTs; we're the ones who are going to battle everyday." 

Dismayed by the lack of equipment to keep essential workers safe, Boseman sought to raise awareness and funds through his friend Thomas Tull's #Operation42 – a cause with added significance because it simultaneously paid tribute to the baseball legend Boseman brought to life in 2013's movie 42

But Boseman's activism didn't stop there. 

Chadwick Boseman wanted to 'create a better future together'

In the weeks before his death, Chadwick Boseman harnessed his A-list status to bring the Black Lives Matter movement to Hollywood. He used his social media platforms to promote — a nonprofit "harnessing the power of narrative activism" and using storytelling as "an effective means to help shape, enhance and amplify important ideas in grassroots organizing."

Boseman supported "Defund the Police" campaigns and other efforts to dismantle systemic racism in America. "From this country's founding history; its economic base, its social standard, its penal system, its protection of property...⁣White Supremacy and Racial Prejudice are its Pre-existing Conditions," he posted in June 2020, alongside a cover story in New Yorker magazine featuring George Floyd — an unarmed Black man killed in police custody in Minneapolis, Minn. in May 2020.⁣ "Change is here," Boseman wrote.

In August 2020, he urged followers to vote and posted a photo of Democratic Vice President candidate Kamala Harris. 

On June 19, 2020 — also known as Juneteenth or Emancipation Day — Boseman harnessed his celebrity status again to "lift up and amplify Black voices," calling on everyone to "support Black owned businesses. Reach back and mentor." He suggested organizations to support, and even though the Avengers star likely knew his future was uncertain, his social media messages promoted hope. "155 years later, let's all try to learn from our past so we can create a better future together," he said. "Not just today. Everyday.⁣"

Many took to social media to mourn Chadwick Boseman, including Kamala Harris

Following Chadwick Boseman's tragic passing, fans and celebrities alike poured out well wishes across social media. That includes the Black Panther lead's fellow Marvel Cinematic Universe stars — like Captain Marvel's Brie Larsen, who called him "someone who radiated power and peace," or Mark Ruffalo (a.k.a. the Hulk), who said Boseman is "one of the all time greats and [his] greatness was only beginning."

In a full-circle moment — albeit a heartbreaking one — Senator Kamala Harris paid tribute to Boseman's legacy by re-sharing the same photo the actor posted on the day Joe Biden picked her as his running mate. Posted less than three weeks apart, Harris' Instagram, of course, had a much different tone: "Heartbroken. My friend and fellow Bison Chadwick Boseman was brilliant, kind, learned, and humble. He left too early but his life made a difference. Sending my sincere condolences to his family."

Harris' "fellow Bison" comment is a nod to their shared alma mater: Howard University. Boseman's 2018 commencement speech at Howard has been recirculating in the wake of his death and his words ring extra true: "You would rather find purpose than a job or career... Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history."

While he's sorely missed by those in Hollywood, Washington, and beyond, Boseman made sure his purpose extended beyond the big screen and into his activism.