Splainer

Monday, August 31 2020


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I had a constant barrage of nasty messages being posted on my Twitter account. Until then, I was only used to getting fan mail. I had the word ‘lesbian’ sprayed on my car window, a stone was hurled at me, a man spat at me at the Delhi airport in front of everyone… I was no longer the darling chef of the country but the dirty lesbian who had the cheek to file this petition.

That’s from a deeply personal essay by celebrity chef Ritu Dalmia on her role as a petitioner in the case that legalised homosexuality in India—soon to be published in an anthology titled ‘Sex and the Supreme Court’. Illustration: Parth Savla

Big Story

The lesson of Chadwick Boseman

The TLDR: On Friday, Chadwick Boseman lost a four-year battle with colon cancer at the young age of 43. In him, the world lost a great human being, a great actor and a great Black man. Tributes poured in from around the world, including Bollywood celebs—none of whom mentioned his Blackness, which was inextricably intertwined with his life and career. To do so would require B’wood to confront its own racism toward Black people and its other, far bigger problem: casteism. This is part one of our examination of Boseman’s legacy and the light he shines on Bollywood bigotry.

 

A meaningful life

The origins: Boseman came from modest beginnings, the son of a nurse and textile worker. He first set his sights on a basketball career, and was recruited to play at the college level. But he changed his mind when a teammate was shot and killed. Looking back, he said: “I just had a feeling that this was something that was calling me.” 

 

Boseman instead wrote his first play and staged it in school, and enrolled in the historic Black Howard University—where he took directing classes. Tragedy birthed a sense of greater purpose intertwining Boseman’s identity with his life’s work. 

 

The career: Success did not come easy to Boseman. He struggled in bit parts until he got his first big break in 2013, playing the baseball giant Jackie Robinson in ‘42’. He would quickly go on to portray James Brown in Get On Up (2014) and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017). Each of these three Black men struck a significant blow for equality. 

 

It’s therefore no coincidence that his greatest cinematic success—‘Black Panther’—was the first Black-dominated Marvel movie, and delivered the world’s first Black superstar superhero.

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In today’s edition

Headlines That Matter

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Smart And Curious

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  • Why the pandemic has left us depleted
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