“Could this year get any worse?”
I’ve muttered these words more than once throughout this eventful year, and the answer is usually “yes.”
For me, the year got worse yet again on the night of Aug. 28 while I sat on my bed reading news on my phone, in shock.
“Chadwick Boseman, ‘Black Panther’ Star, Dies at 43,” the headline read.
As someone who recently became a big fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, reading about the actor’s sudden death after a private battle with colon cancer was devastating.
Boseman’s movie characters included real-life heroes like Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall. But it was his portrayal of the fictional superhero, Black Panther, that skyrocketed his popularity.
After learning of his sudden passing, I rewatched the film. Though it’s a Marvel superhero movie, it touches on many real universal issues.
It’s about loss, power, strength, family, country and more.
The movie’s fictional country of Wakanda has a valuable supply of a resource called vibranium. With vibranium, the Wakandans are able to make clothing, technology, weapons, medicine and more.
There is a power struggle between Boseman’s character, King T’Challa, also known as the Black Panther, and the villain, Erik Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan.
Killmonger wants to send vibranium weapons to other countries where people aren’t being justly treated, but T’Challa is against the idea of opening Wakanda to the rest of the world.
After the typical battle scene featured in most superhero movies, T’Challa makes the decision to share Wakanda’s resources with those who need them.
“We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this planet, should treat each other,” Boseman’s character says in the post-credit scene. “More connects us than separates us. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
If you’re familiar with Marvel movies, you know that they usually include post-credit scenes. As I watched this scene again, the words spoken by Boseman really resonated.
Especially now, in the midst of a pandemic, we need to be looking after one another.
The post-credit scene ends with another world leader asking, “What can a nation of farmers offer the rest of the world?”
The question is posed because in the movie, Wakanda hides its advanced resources and portrays the country as a poor nation of farmers.
However, this final line in the film stuck with me.
Within our country, as we all struggled with the pandemic both financially and mentally, farmers stepped up to look after others.
With the disruptions in the supply chain and empty shelves in the grocery store, farmers and ag organizations arranged for free gallons of milk to be handed out to those in need, and for eggs and meat to be sold out of truck beds for discounted prices.
The way farmers have worked together to help not only themselves, but everyone else, is a great example of how brothers and sisters on this planet should treat each other.
A nation of farmers shared their resources with many members of their communities.
I know the character is fictional, but I think the Black Panther would have been proud of how farmers reacted during the pandemic.
Honestly, I’m sure this year could still get worse. But I’m glad that despite all the bad, there are still good people. People like Chadwick Boseman, who inspired millions, not only with the characters he played, but also as the man he was. People like our farmers, who despite their own challenges, stepped up to look after other struggling people.
This hasn’t been a very good year, but it’s been a year that should help us appreciate the good things in life, and it’s been a year that can help us learn and grow.
As Chadwick Boseman once said during a commencement speech, “Remember, the struggles along the way are only meant to shape you for your purpose.”