A mural paying tribute to Chadwick Boseman showing the late star alongside a young fan with their arms both crossed in the iconic “Wakanda forever” salute from the film “Black Panther” was unveiled in California Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District on Thursday.
The mural was painted by Nikkolas Smith, who in his former job as a Disney Imagineer designed resort attractions. Smith called the mural his “King Chad” tribute.
The young child in the work is in a hospital gown and wears a Black Panther mask; the image is reminiscent of photos taken during a 2018 visit Boseman made with children with cancer at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. At the time, the star himself had colon cancer, a diagnosis he received in 2016 but kept quiet.
Smith wrote on Instagram that he had previously worked on Disneyland’s Avengers Campus and the mural represented a “full circle moment” for him.
“To millions of kids, T’Challa was a legend larger than life, and there was no one more worthy to fill those shoes than Chadwick Boseman,” Smith wrote, referencing the Black Panther’s name.
An inscription written by Smith to accompany the mural says: “Seeing Chadwick’s heart for people in-person, and later discovering his courageous battle with cancer, I was inspired to create this tribute to honor his life and legacy. To us, he was and will always be T’Challa. Long Live The King.”
One day after the mural was unveiled, visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim, California ― both adult and child – were snapping shots alongside the tribute to the late actor and proudly posting them.
Boseman died from colon cancer complications at the age of 43 on Aug. 28. Aside from his Black Panther role, his impressive acting accomplishments included playing Jackie Robinson in the 2013 biopic “42” and James Brown in the 2014 film “Get On Up.”