Parents struggle to tell kids that ‘Black Panther’ actor passed away
While some children held ceremonies for the Black Panther with their favorite action hero toys; others await to hear the devastating news
The death of Chadwick Boseman on Friday sent shock waves across the nation.
Countless fans, admirers and fellow entertainers all mourned the actor over the weekend, who died after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
There is a group of fans that may be affected in a different way: children.
Boseman’s titular role as Marvel’s Black Panther gained him fans among kids of all backgrounds, but especially Black kids who got to see a Black superhero on the big screen for the first time.
Many parents have been at odds with deciding whether or not to break the news of Boseman’s passing to their kids, who have come to both love and identify with Boseman as the King of Wakanda.
For those who did break the sad news to their children, each kid mourned in their own way. Posts on social media on Saturday show children giving impromptu memorials of their own as tribute to their hero:
Complex Magazine compiled post from parents showing their kids’ tributes from their IG stories:
Other parents are struggling with breaking their news to their little ones.
Massachusetts graphic designer Kyle Cox has a three-year-old son, Lucas, who loves Black Panther. The child’s bedroom is of posters and action figures of T’Challa and sleeps with Black Panther sheets. Cox told the Washington Post that telling Lucas that Boseman died “might crush him.”
“My wife and I have not decided yet if we are going to tell him. He wants to be like T’Challa when he grows up, a Black king,” Cox explained. “I don’t know if I want to tell him his hero died.”
Imani Cheers, an associate director at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, was on the fence about delivering the news of Boseman’s death to her six-year-old son Isaiah. She threw him a Black Panther birthday party in 2019 and says her son is a super fan.
In the end, Cheers, 40, decided not to tell Isaiah. After taking him to Friday’s March on Washington in observance of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other unarmed Black people, Cheers didn’t want to pile onto the grief.
“He was immersed with so much yesterday, so much pain and death of young people who look like him,” Cheers told the outlet. “I just want to shield him from the pain of losing one more person who he absolutely idolized.”
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