A mural of Chadwick Boseman doing the “Wakanda forever” salute from “Black Panther” with a young Black boy has been unveiled in Disneyland in Florida.
The mural, called “King Chad” honors the actor who died of cancer last August.
It was created by the concept artist and illustrator Nikkolas Smith, a longtime admirer of Boseman’s.
The news of Chadwick Boseman’s death in the summer sent shockwaves in Hollywood and beyond. The actor had become a black icon with his role as the King of Wakanda.
SOUNDBITE (English) Nikkolas Smith, artist:
“Chadwick was like a beacon. He was a shining light, especially in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, obviously he’s a shining light. But just throughout his career, just watching him take off and do so many amazing projects that we have grown to love. He was that guy, to look to for inspiration.”
Nikkolas Smith has worked on designs for Disney theme parks and like the late actor, loved to “bring magic to children’s hospitals”.
The boy in Smith’s mural wears a hospital gown, in a nod to that shared interest.
Watching people as they discovered the mural for the first time was very special, he said:
“One thing I will never forget is just the response that came from that: having parents, many parents who went through that same struggle with their children, some parents who lost their children to cancer, writing me and saying, ‘You drew my son. That’s my son with Chadwick right there.'”
Smith said he plans to make another trip to Disneyland to continue to meet with the kids who stop to admire the piece.
“It’s so cool now to see little kids run up to the mural at Disneyland and do the salute,” Smith said.
“It’s so beautiful. I’m just speechless. I literally just sat back and just watched people for hours go up to the thing and pay their respects and smile, cry, do so many things. And those are the moments that I’m like, this is why I make art.”
He concluded: “Wakanda forever.”