“In times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”By Chadwick Boseman
I have loved films since I was a young boy. I can not say that the love had been consistent, but it has never died. In my growing up the movie watching options available were village projector movies, or cinema theatre.
My Film History
Cinema theatre we shops with wooden benches and a TV. You only required five shillings to enjoy. The nearest one from our home was five kilometers away at a place called Kwa Amos. I only got to attend once. The beating I received from my mother that evening could easily be confused for world war II. The beating would make my love for film dormant.
Other than school puppetry shows and bible stories, I never watched any film till I completed primary school. I would encounter episodes of Machang’i and Kihenjo as my brother entertained his guests when I visited.
One of my biggest barriers of film watching was my inability to understand the fast English. Being a village boy had its advantages but it came covered in inability to hear the fast English. After the KCPE I was introduces to Nigerian movies which I could hear. This ushered me into the movie watching culture.
The more I watched them, the love was rekindled. I began binge watching. Prison Break and 24 taught me to hear what the movies were all about.
From that age, the journey and motivation to be a film maker was born. It has been held together by the love of performing arts. Music and drama put me on stage in preparation for the life I am still working towards.
I may have only entered the village cinema once, but the love for films has allowed me to watch over 130 films in the modern theatres in Nairobi. I have enjoyed watching some really good films from my favorite actors and directors. Including the famous Black Panther. How we got in with sugarcane as a snack on this day is a story for another day.
There are so many people who continue to impact and influence my journey. The African American actors really push me to be the best in what I do. Just to name a few; Denzel Washington, Tyler Perry, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, Mahershala Ali, Forest Whitaker, Wesley Snipes, Morgan Freeman and Chadwick Boseman.
The death of Chadwick is a blow to me, who has been looking up to him. Although he is gone, he has left me with invaluable lessons to help me walk the remaining part of my journey.
1. Living the Virtues
Chad, Was born in a christian family. When he even became part of the choir. Through his life he embodied the virtues learnt from his church and his mother. While he lived on what he believed was right and just, it was always subtle. He invoked God and his spirituality in a subtle way in order to be inclusive of other people’s views.
2. Standing For What You Believe In
He has played roles in different films and episodes. His belief on equality and African American spirit would only make him play a role that agreed to his principles. He was even fired for voicing racial stereotype. He believed that African Americans were better than just being portrayed as criminals and drug dealers. This is what would bring him to bring to life four African American men into life. Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and Black Panther show the best there is in being an African American.
“I don’t know what your future is, but if you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that’s ultimately proven to have more victory, more glory, then you will not regret it. This is your time.”By Chadwick Boseman
3. Fighting To The Very End
In the four years of his battle with Colon cancer, he fought with brevity. He knew he had to be strong for himself and others. While still fighting, he would visit ailing cancer children and give the hope. In an interview he recounts of two boys who lost the battle while clinging to the hope of watching Black Panther. A hope he had created in the young boys and their parents. Suffering the same condition while still offering hope to others, makes the sacrifice so valuable.
He was able to shout more than six films in between surgeries and therapy. That level of dedication to your craft and passion is rare. Especially in a world that is looking out for excuses not to engage.
“You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking, you are under pressure.”By Chadwick Boseman
4. Friends And Family
In his school years at Howard University, he shared his vision with his lecturer Phylicia Rashad of his dreams. She would motivate him to take up an acting course in Oxford. When he couldn’t pay, she sourced financing from her friends. Denzel Washington would be the one to pay for him. Having people who believe in you without your consent is the greatest form of friendship.
Strive for a circle of friends you can trust. While he battled the disease to the final stretch, his close family and friends knew. However, it never got to the public. A well kept secret. They allowed him to live his life to the fullest. Without a count down from the outside world. He lived a private life. Off the preying cameras of the world.
” For me, being a complete artist means not necessarily just being in front of the camera, but being behind the camera or being the originator or creator of something.”By Chadwick Boseman
The Journey Continues
My journey is still on. I have acted, written and directed. All in the search for money, but passion opening the doors.Today I am photographer and videographer; a path that still hope will lead me to film production. I am not there yet but God has led me this far. I keep pushing. While my friends don’t understand why I watch movies with a critical eye, I still do.
I know that one day standing on the shoulders of great African American filmmakers, I will impact the world. Like Chadwick Boseman, I not only want to make films, I desire to offer hope and change the world.
Fare thee Well bro.