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Chadwick Boseman suits up for his return as the Black Panther

#ManCrushMonday

Chadwick Boseman suits up for his return as the Black Panther
Everything you need to know about Marvel’s new superhero, Black Panther

1. He gave an African accent to the first superhero of African descent in American comics
As the hero of the fictional utopian land of Wakanda, Boseman wanted to paint all emotions and aspects of his character as T'Challa - a Wakandan ruler that thrived and evolved without the taint of Colonialism that left the African continent in ruins. Having his roots in the west African state of Sierra Leone, Boseman channelled his native heritage in his latest solo spin-off, Black Panther. "The intonations and melodies inside an African accent are just as classical as a British one or a European one", said Boseman at a Beverly Hills news conference.

2. He starred in 42, the film with a highest-grossing debut for a baseball movie in Hollywood history
Boseman's breakthrough came in 2013 when he starred as Jackie Robinson in a biographical film about the first African American baseball player in the Major League. Growing up in South Carolina, the 41-year-old actor experienced racism firsthand even before cruel, degrading racist labels were spewed at Robinson in 42. The film remains as a historically respectful moment in American history where Boseman broke baseball's shameful colour barrier in his representation of Robinson.

3. He's got both brawns and brains
The Black Panther is known as a warrior with expert fighting skills and enhanced stamina, agility and durability, and Boseman is not short of any. Coined as the Black Panther workout, Boseman breeds the superhero shape that's highly coveted by all men. The Howard University graduate also studied at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford to support his acting career before joining New York City's Digital Film Academy.

4. He began his career on the small-screen
Long before the titular superhero squeezed into his tight, full body spandex suit in Marvel's Black Panther, Boseman was no stranger to television programmes. Before playing Nathaniel Ray on Lincoln Heights in 2008 and Graham McNair on Persons Unknown in 2010, Boseman was also featured on an episode of Third Watch and Law & Order.

5. His first passion was writing and directing, not acting
The South Carolina native's first love wasn't acting. "I really only started acting because I wanted to know what the actors were doing, how to communicate with the actors," said Boseman in an interview. Although he didn't start off as a playwright, the 41-year-old actor fulfilled his dream with his 2006 hip-hop play, Deep Azure.

Black Panther arrives in theatres on 15 February.
Check out last week's #ManCrushMonday.

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Text: Esther Soh

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