On Friday, the world learned beloved actor and Marvel Cinematic Universe star Chadwick Boseman, known for his portrayal of Black Panther, died at 43 years old.
When cherished celebrities pass away it's always a bit of a shock, but Boseman's death hit so much harder for so many because of how important Black Panther has been for a generation of kids who saw themselves reflected in a superhero on screen.
Sade Berry's 5-year-old son, Carter, is one of those kids. He loved Boseman as Black Panther and an image of Carter processing Boseman's death through play is now going viral. In the photo, which Carter's sister helped direct, the little boy sits with his MCU action figures as Black Panther lies in the middle. It's as if they're all paying their respects.
"Carter said 'Wakanda Forever'" his mom captioned the now-viral photo.
"This was an emotional experience for us," Berry tells Motherly.
"It's not the first time he has experienced the death of someone he has cared about," she explains. "I just wanted him to show honor the best way he knew how."
The image has been shared hundreds of thousands of times as internet commenters honor Boseman's memory. The 43-year-old actor died after a private 4-year battle with colon cancer, but his legacy will live forever though his films.
As Raschael Ash previously wrote for Motherly, "the importance of this movie extends far beyond the seemingly simplicity of hair. The representation that's shown, both on and off screen, shines blindingly bright like a beacon of hope."
She continued: "The hope that my children will continue to see themselves represented in a new light. The need to highlight our stories of oppression and modern struggle are integral. Equally as important as these are the films that will showcase all sides of our stories. The stories that show all of our shades, that show our positivity, that show us thriving in a loving, worthy manner."
In a year when the United States and the world are finally reckoning with the systemic racism and the awful legacy of white supremacy, the death of an iconic Black super hero is so hard.
Boseman meant so much to kids like Carter. And it's up to the rest of us to carry on his legacy and push for more movies like Black Panther. That incredible movie broke box office records and the news of Boseman's passing broke hearts worldwide.