Bosco In ‘Champion,’ Explained: Why Was Bosco Having Mental Health Troubles?


Bosco, played by Malcolm Kamulete in Champion, was a representation of how the oppressors unconsciously oppress themselves. None of this is to say that what Bosco or Beres faced was even remotely close to what they put the women in their lives through, but they did pay a price.

Bosco lived a privileged life, and perhaps the only privilege he was missing was that he wasn’t white. He was reasonably wealthy and talented; he was a man, and he had women attending to his every need. Imagine a grown man whose mother polices the people around him by referring to his emotions. No wonder Bosco did not act like a grown up; it was because he never had to learn that people wouldn’t be rushing to accommodate him at every turn. When Vita and Aria stepped back from managing his affairs and emotions, Bosco found himself at a loss. The one thing about Bosco was that he was easily provoked. His rival insulted Vita and Bosco equally, but while Vita gracefully stepped back, Bosco always got into a fight, one that ended up costing him more than anyone else. This is a clear sign of a fragile ego that had never been secured, mostly because of his family.

Right from the beginning, Bosco has only been told one thing, which is to go out there and perform to earn money. He was told that this was his only duty as a ‘champion’ and as a man. The problem wasn’t that Bosco was being told this. It was that he was not being told anything else. These were the only words ringing in his ears. Right from his childhood, Bosco was told that he was the most important person and that everyone else existed only for his sake. His sister was supposed to write songs for him and be his personal assistant, without even acknowledging that she was more than capable of being his manager. Bosco and the rest of the family clearly saw everything that Vita kept doing for him, yet they were unable to acknowledge her talent in her own right. Bosco was the ‘golden child,’ but it is surprising that even Aria did not think that Vita should get some credit for making him so. As for Bosco, why would he bother to counter something that worked so well for him?

There is a particular scene in Champion episode 1 where there isn’t enough food, so Aria just places the plate in front of Bosco and declares that Vita mustn’t be hungry without waiting for an answer. Why wouldn’t Vita be hungry? Why wouldn’t she want to eat some food? In the fight that ensues between Bosco and Vita, Aria only steps in to tell Vita that she should stop arguing because Bosco is getting upset. Why is Aria babysitting a grown man and telling his much younger sister, who is the reason behind his success, to keep her voice low? What is especially striking is that Bosco doesn’t tell his mother that he can deal with his sister himself. In fact, he tries to pull her into the fight because he knows that she will side with him. It is an arrangement that suits Bosco just fine because his position on his pedestal is secure as long as everyone is holding it up.

For most of the series, until the very end, Bosco keeps blaming Vita for choosing her own career. He constantly blames her for his failures, but not once does he acknowledge the opposite: that her presence was the reason for his success. Admitting it would mean that Bosco was not the great and capable man that he needed to be to stand up to the expectations of his father. Therefore, he took credit for the success and blamed Vita for his failures because that was easier than facing reality. But in this situation, Bosco was the only loser because Vita had long stopped centering her life around him and was living her own dreams.

Bosco was truly alone, and he did not know how to handle himself at all. He did not know how to ask for help or even understand what he was feeling. When his father told him about his illegitimate son, Bosco was confused, but he eventually sided with his father. According to Bosco, whatever his father’s lies were, they had enabled him to ‘make something of himself,’ which is what Bosco was facing the pressure to do. Therefore, his empathy lay with the man in his life and not with a rational judgment of what was right and wrong. However, something noteworthy was that Bosco was not sure about this opinion either. From the beginning, everyone had a way of trampling over Bosco. When he wasn’t sure about making an album about his time in jail, his manager pushed aside his apprehensions and said that he would do it. When Honey brought Vita’s book of songs, Bosco did not want to use it, but she strong-armed him into it. Similarly, Bosco may have felt betrayed by his dad’s secret, but he was told that it did not matter as long as one had professional success to show for it. Bosco’s real personality was trampled under what everyone told him he needed to do.

There is a very interesting difference between Vita and Bosco. Both were told to subdue their true selves in favor of what society deemed more appropriate for them. But while Vita’s ambitions were oppressed with shame and derision, Bosco was shut down with words of praise and entitlement. Vita wasn’t allowed her ambitions because they were declared ‘selfish’ and ‘against the family,’ whereas Bosco wasn’t allowed other feelings because they were deemed ‘unnecessary’ and a ‘hindrance’ on his glorious path to success. When Bosco’s grandmother died, Beres took his daughter and ex-wife (who was dating another man) to Jamaica but forbade his son from doing the same because he needed to focus on his career. Beres taught Bosco that natural feelings of grief and mourning are an obstruction and too ‘lowly’ for his gender unless they were a responsibility.

The thing with feelings is that they don’t disappear when ignored. Unless they get an outlet, they keep stewing until they boil over, and that is what happened with Bosco. This is why he kept having panic attacks, and the few people who saw it also did not bother to help him.

Finally, when Bosco came to know that his father had been stealing from him, he knew he couldn’t ignore how wrong his teachings were. This was never about Bosco’s glory but about Beres’ debt. Once Bosco realized that, he took the help he needed for himself. When he disappeared from the public eye, it was to rest, recuperate, and get the therapy he desperately needed. With the slow pace and the space that he had to think for himself, Bosco realized just how wrong he had been in the past and understood why Vita was better off alone. Bosco still did not like himself, but he was surrounded by people who encouraged him to, and he had never had that. At the end of Champion, Bosco is a changed man, and that would have stayed if only his father had not ruined it all for his selfishness once again.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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