I’ve often said that I have two dream writing projects in my career. And they’re both movie scripts.
I believe this is something that the public doesn’t know about me is that despite that I’m a published novelist, with another manuscript in the can, and with an appearance in two different anthologies by the beginning of 2021 – I consider myself a dramatist and screenwriter first and foremost.
Both of my dream writing projects are biopics.
One of which is a biopic of Walter Cronkite. Aside from one of my earliest words as a baby being allegedly “konkite,” I find the man and his career terribly fascinating. From being on the air announcing that President Kennedy had been assassinated, to his scathing editorial commentaries on the Vietnam War, to his almost childlike giddiness as he anchored coverage of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969, he was one of a kind.
My other dream project – and I’m stunned that it hasn’t been made yet – is Hammer – The Henry Aaron Story. Yeah, that’s my title…
Few athletes have had more stress during a crucial time in their career and life than Henry Aaron. With the death threats he received, the Atlanta Braves hired an off-duty Atlanta police officer as a personal security guard for Aaron. And in the now-famous image after he touched home plate – which includes a young Craig Sager replete in a dapper white jacket – includes a young man with a binocular case slung over his shoulder. In that case was a loaded .44 magnum…
Few star athletes have a more fascinating story to me than Henry Aaron. From his humble beginnings in Mobile, Alabama, to breaking the most important and hallowed record in Major League Baseball history, I just love his story.
In many ways, Aaron’s story is similar to that of Jackie Robinson. A product of humble beginnings in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie famously broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and went on to have a hall of fame career.
In 2013, Jackie’s story was immortalized in the incredible film 42. And starring as Jackie was a relatively unknown young actor named Chadwick Boseman.
I was blown away by Chadwick’s vulnerability and the quiet determination he brought to Jackie’s character. With the gravitas and the power of a cinematic veteran, he really owned that film! And that was his very first starring role.
The following year, Boseman would go on to portray one of my absolute favorite musical icons – the Godfather of Soul James Brown — in Get On Up. Bringing a bravado and a pain to the Godfather that just knocked me flat.
And after I left the theater that evening, I couldn’t get Boseman’s performance out of my head.
In the next few years, Chadwick Boseman became the go-to actor for iconic biopics as he played Thurgood Marshall – the first black United States Supreme Court Justice in Marshall.
This was of course before he would shoot to superstardom in the Kingdom of Wakanda.
I often think that Boseman would’ve been perfect to play Henry Aaron in my dream project.
But sadly…that can never happen.
Was I a fan of his? Absolutely! I mean, what movie fan in recent years wouldn’t be?
But in the wake of his incredibly surprising passing a few days ago, I can’t get this number out of my head. This number has been haunting my soul in recent days!
And it’s not the number 42.
It’s the number 43.
Chadwick Boseman was born November 29, 1976. Which means he was 43 years old when he died.
This past March – ironically the day when everything shut down because of our old friend COVID – I turned 43!
We were the same age.
It’s difficult for me not to feel a little scared. I like to think that I’ve got a ton of time left to be great in this world. With the books, the careers, the loves – I feel like I’ve got a ton of time left.
But I really don’t, you know? I really don’t.
Every day I wake up with this feeling in my soul like I am a world-changing badass of love. But I usually go to bed tired, depressed, depleted, and angry that I wasted eight hours of my life in that Best Buy selling stuff that we don’t have and can’t get.
I want so much more out of my life. I want to find that love I know is out there for me. I want to write and publish that book that’s going to change the world.
I know I’m great! I know I have greatness inside of me. But damned if I’m not scared to show it!
Chadwick Boseman’s death has been a real wakeup call for me to get my s*** together. Because the only thing keeping me from creating the life of my dreams is ME!
Boseman has been a household name for only seven years. It wasn’t like he was a teen heartthrob; he didn’t become a household name until he was well into his 30s.
I feel like I’m scared of success. I’m scared that success will go to my head and make the spirit of my mom resent me for not being humble…or something like that which I’m sure I’ll be talking to my therapist about in our next call.
Chadwick Boseman created magic in a very short career. And most of that time, he was fighting for his life battling colon cancer.
Not even his Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. He had no idea that Boseman was ill.
In the days of TMZ and Twitter, he managed to keep this a secret from all but those closest to him – his family.
As a man, here’s what I admire most about him. He not only kept his privacy, but he never lost his humility and humbleness.
To go from relatively unknown in 2013, to the biggest star in Hollywood in barely five years, that could turn many of us into an arrogant diva!
Not Chad. Every interview I ever saw with him, he was a down to earth and humble guy with prodigious talent and a huge heart. The commencement speech he delivered at his alma mater Howard University was dripping with gratitude and grace and love!
People in my life coaching circles often ask me – what is a king?
My definition of a King is a heart-centered leader in the world. And make no mistake at all, Chadwick Boseman IS a King!
While his time on this planet is over and his work has ended, the impact his beautiful heart has left on this world will reverberate for eternity.
Hey Chad? If you’re reading this from wherever you are, I wanted to thank you. You woke me up.
Rest well, Chadwick. Your work is done, brother. It’s time for us to share our greatness.
I think there’s one thing left for me to do…other than walk my dog and go to bed.
Figure out how to get the rights to Henry Aaron’s life story…