The Secrets of Medical Illnesses in the Entertainment Industry Among Male Actors

By Tiahana Gaines

            A thriving actor in the entertainment industry has recently passed away due to a chronic illness that most men battle quietly and fearfully; his name is “Chadwick Boseman.” When you think of Boseman, you remember “Black Panther,” “42,” and “Get on Up.” Boseman’s passing has brought light to medical illnesses not only in entertainment but in African American communities. How many men in the entertainment industry express or open up about their current medical conditions? Boseman is an example of living a quiet life with a condition that can be crippling and life changing. “Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016 and battled with it these last four years as it progressed to stage IV,” the statement read. “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much.” (Sims, David).  Bose kept his diagnosis hidden from the world and experienced a significant amount of pain doing what he loved on the screens. His constant fight has brought attention to his heroic strength, motivation, and dedication. There are many men in the entertainment industry battling medical illnesses such as Nick Jonas battling Type 1 diabetes, Montel Williams with multiple sclerosis, Frankie Muniz mini-stroke, Lil Wayne epilepsy, Nick Cannon lupus, and Anthony Anderson Type 2 diabetes.  

            Boseman’s death was a shock to the world, as well as his battle with Stage III colon cancer. This news broke the hearts of fans and increased knowledge to educate those about cancer.  Cases rise daily, especially in the African American communities; with the lack of knowledge, men continue to execute their daily roles suffering. “Da 5 Bloods” is just one of the many movies Boseman filmed while suffering from colon cancer, and it must have been an incredible effort for him, like the rest. The actor’s screen presence is as transfixing as Lee intended, and it has helped by the fact that in flashbacks, Boseman’s character is the only one depicted as a young man, while his squad members are played by older actors who recall him as he once was.” (Emmanuele, Julia). As viewers, we do not observe the behind life scenes these actors face with their medical conditions.

            Due to Chadwick Boseman’s tragic passing, the film industry has suddenly changed to recent and future projects that will now be missing his physical presence on screen. His career and heroic character on and off the screen has left an unforgettable imprint that is irreplaceable. At one point, Boseman believed he was going to be a survivor of colon cancer and planned to continue his career as an actor. An unknown source said that Black Panther 2 was the next movie that he was going to train for a week before his death. Marvel had already set a release date for May 6, 2022. Ryan Coogler, Marvel’s youngest film director, said, “I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say (in Black Panther 2), that we were not destined to see. It leaves me broken, knowing that I will not be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take.” Boseman’s unexpected death has raised many questions for movie directors to answer, resulting in creating a new foreseeable future for those new films.

            Another film that has been affected by Chadwick Boseman’s death is a drama film called Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. This film was expected to be virtually previewed Monday, September 3, but Netflix has decided to postpone the event since this will be the last film Chadwick Boseman will be involved in.  After being diagnosed with colon cancer, Chadwick Boseman decided to continue to keep his personal life private. Boseman’s agent stated that “his mother is the one who inspired him to keep his cancer diagnosis secret from the general public.” (Greene, Michael.) With Boseman’s decision to keep his personal life private, filming became incredibly difficult to deal with on set. Greene explained that Boseman “was really in hardcore pain” during the upcoming Netflix film production, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Despite Boseman’s choice to keep his illness private, his fight to beat colon cancer while continuing his career is very inspirational. It has changed many people’s lives because of it.



Work Cited

Emmanuele, Julia. “Chadwick Boseman’s Agent Reveals Why He Decided To Keep His Cancer Diagnosis Secret.” Bustle. Bustle, September 4, 2020.

Sims, David. “The Profound Heroism of Chadwick Boseman.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, August 29, 2020.

“How Chadwick Boseman’s death affects ‘Black Panther 2.'” Daniell.

“Netflix Delays Virtual Preview of ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ Following Chadwick Boseman’s Death” Beresford

“Chadwick Boseman’s Agent Reveals Why He Decided To Keep His Cancer Diagnosis Secret”, Emmanuele




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