Family, friends and fans of Chadwick Boseman are reeling from the news the beloved actor has passed away at 43 from colon cancer. Though many will deeply miss the way he embodied his roles on the screen, his final public message, posted to social media, is one that supporters can rally behind: Vote.
On August 11, shortly after presidential candidate Joe Biden chose Sen. Kamala Harris to be his running mate, Boseman posted a photo of him and the now vice-presidential nominee to Twitter and Instagram. He captioned the photo, “YES” accompanied by the hashtag #WhenWeAllVote—the name of former first lady Michelle Obama’s voting rights organization for which he was an ambassador—and #Vote2020, an encouragement to fans to make their voice heard in the upcoming election.
Both Biden and Harris have responded to the tragic news of Boseman’s passing, sharing their deep regret and reflections. On Twitter, the former vice president wrote, “The true power of @ChadwickBoseman was bigger than anything we saw on screen. From the Black Panther to Jackie Robinson, he inspired generations and showed them they can be anything they want — even super heroes. Jill and I are praying for his loved ones at this difficult time.”
Sen. Harris reposted the photo of her and Boseman, with the caption, “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.”
In 2018, Boseman joined forces with When We All Vote to encourage newly eligible young voters to exercise their civic right in the 2018 midterms. In an Instagram post on Election Day 2018, he wrote. “You think you can’t change the world? You can. YOUTH OF AMERICA, WE NEED YOU. This is your chance. Get out there and #VOTE. Our lives depend on it.”
“Chadwick was an inspiration to us all to dream bigger and a reminder of the superpower we all hold within ourselves—particularly in communities of color,” Crystal Carson, Communications Director for When We All Vote told ESSENCE after news of Boseman’s passing. “We are so proud to know he supported the work of When We All Vote and we hoped to do more with Chadwick leading up to the election. As a nonpartisan organization, our mission is to change the culture around voting and work to inspire all eligible Americans to use their own superpower—voting.”