Ever since Nipsey’s passing I’ve been having a conversation with my friends and myself about timing why things happen during the time that they do. For many; if not the majority of people in the world may feel that these past couple of years have been filled with moments that affected us all in negative ways; bad timing. Kobe Bryant, Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke (plus other young rappers), and Chadwick Boseman. As a Nigerian American, I think about the leaders we’ve had on our television/laptop screen that have made an impact resulting in a mental and emotional uplifting for my fellow African Americans, only to have their reign cut short by situations out of our control. It has me thinking at times; is the image of black excellence a glimpse or a glitch in the universe’s plan.
Why oh why are these reigns so short lived? Some may say that Kobe had a long reign but in the world of film he was only getting started, and what a way to start by receiving an Oscar off his first attempt. Nipsey Hussle, An artist that I heard back in ’08 but really tapped into in 2010 fought and shook the music industry in such a way that they had to get on board with his demands. To see such a man of integrity, a man of humility, discipline, and principles finally get his acknowledgment in the mainstream market felt like a victory for all of his supporters. He didn’t stop there. He used his earned power and influence to be in front of the camera and spread the message of entrepreneurship, a big reason why so many of my peers are following in his footsteps, and in the world of film, he was working on a documentary about Dr. Sebi and his health practices. Pop Smoke was creating a resurgence in NY hip-hop. Only 20 years old and you could see his trajectory moving upward in his career, I’ve used his music in a NY themed episode of Basher Chronicles: Creativity is Key, hit shows like FOR LIFE on ABC also used his music for soundtrack purposes. Then you have Chadwick Boseman, a man that has performed several roles of black legends; from real life inspirations such as Jackie Robinson to Animated Superheroes like The Black Panther. His continuous progression not only elevated actors; more importantly, he elevated an entire culture.
I remember being at the movie theater to watch Black Panther like it was yesterday, I’d see people entering the theater wearing African tribal garments it was a beautiful feeling getting an experience of being back in the motherland or comic-con as opposed to just going to the movies on a Saturday night. The film was engaging to people all over world, theaters in the eastern part of the world were featuring Marvel films for the first time due to his role and performance, along with his crew. Chadwick played the roles of people that gave you hope, Chadwick was a man that spread the message that Bashers like myself live by, have principles, have faith, have love in yourself and you can achieve anything.
These Kings, these vessels that were put on this earth and took the baton of black excellence have now given it to us. Whether they were supposed to motivate us, or they went against the grain of their path (which I’d like to believe is not true). As Bashers that are African American we must take this baton of excellence and clutch it in our grips. To my allies, if you get that baton, run a 100 or 200 meter dash, but be sure to pass it to your black creators quickly. We can’t afford to end the marathon; it must continue from Wakanda to Washington D.C. as so on. We are Bashers, we break limits and raise the bar for excellence. Start your day knowing that; and thank Kings like Chadwick Boseman for being that bar.
Thank you for the baton, to all my Legends.
Rest blissfully Chadwick, we’ll take it from here.
-Jaanna Anaemereibe, Founder of Basher Visuals