From Saudi Arabia to the Philippines: Chadwick Boseman's legacy is truly global

Fans from around the world have paid tribute to the 'Black Panther' star, who died from colon cancer on Friday

When Black Panther was released in 2018, it was a pivotal moment for superhero fans around the world.

In Chadwick Boseman’s King T'Challa, the Marvel universe was given its first Black superhero, a figure that offered hope and representation to so many around the world.

And following the shocking news of Boseman’s death from colon cancer on Friday, August 28, the true impact of the actor’s legacy is being felt in all corners of the globe.

On Saturday, August 29, dozens of fans gathered for a vigil in the actor’s honour at Leimert Park in Los Angeles. The meet up was organised by Project Islamic Hope, a Los Angeles civil rights group.

"It was so last minute, but we had to do something," the group's leader Najee Ali told the LA Times.

Najee Ali, director of Project Islamic Hope, leads a "Wakanda Forever!" salute from the 2018 film "Black Panther," during a news conference to celebrate the late actor and "Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman, Saturday, Aug. 29. 2020, in Los Angeles. Boseman died Friday at 43 after a four-year fight with colon cancer. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Basketball star LeBron James also paid tribute to Boseman on Saturday ahead of the LA Lakers game with a moment-of-silence. The 35-year-old took to his knee, closed his eyes and crossed his arms up against his chest to form the 'Wakanda Forever' salute. The three-time NBA champion then pointed up to the sky.

But it is not just in Boseman's home city of Los Angeles that people are honouring the star. In the Philippines, a fan went to the supermarket and to his local Starbucks dressed as Black Panther in honour of Boseman.

"Essentials shopping? Let's do it the Marvel superhero way! Keep yourself protected while spreading good vibes and paying tribute to Black Panther himself," the fan wrote.

Another fan in Manila, Rey Alejandro, shared a black and white pencil portrait of the actor alongside a quote. “You might have one thing in your head, but the things you're doing don't really lead down the right road, necessarily. When you're young, you don't want to hear that. You think you can do everything, be all things – Chadwick Boseman,” he wrote. “Tribute to the king. RIP @chadwickboseman”

The drawing was one of thousands of fan illustration tributes to flood the internet in the hours following the news of his death. Brazilian artist Daniela Martinin shared a drawing to her Instagram profile, showing Boseman’s face split between himself and his Black Panther mask. “My tribute to Chad. Thank you for making history on the cinema industry. Wakanda forever,” she wrote.

Thousands of fans in Africa were quick to pay tribute to Boseman on social media too. "You've put smile on Africa's face and the world entirely with your role in Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman you're a rare gem and you will always be remembered. Rest on with the Legends," wrote one fan in Lagos, Nigeria.

And a fan in South Africa shared how much the movie meant there:

The film Black Panther also has huge significance for many fans in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, where it became the first blockbuster shown for decades in 2018 when cinemas reopened after almost 40 years.

"Black Panther was the first movie to ever premiere in cinemas in Saudi Arabia, it was a huge step forward for us. Just another reason why this movie is monumentally great and why Chadwick Boseman was even greater," wrote one fan on Twitter.

"Black Panther had the honour of being the first film to formally be screened in Saudi Arabia after a 35 year ban was lifted on public theatres. It will always be remembered for its cultural impact and the joy it brought to people around the world," another fan wrote.

Lebanese artist and activist Ivan Debs also paid tribute from the Middle East with a powerful drawing of Boseman alongside a pair of black panthers. “#RIP Rest in power, King Chadwick Boseman,” he wrote, alongside a quote attributed to his brother Allan Debs: “In my culture, Death is not the end, It’s more of a stepping off point.”

Of course, Boseman was known for more than his role in Black Panther. Over the years, he played many other pivotal characters, including Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up. Most recently, he appeared in director Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods and was set to appear in a sequel to Black Panther, due in 2022.

Among the famous faces to pay tribute to the star were former US president Barack Obama.

“Chadwick came to the White House to work with kids when he was playing Jackie Robinson,” he wrote on Twitter. “You could tell right away that he was blessed. To be young, gifted, and Black; to use that power to give them heroes to look up to; to do it all while in pain – what a use of his years.”

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