It’s time to pass the Kleenex once again because we came across another heartwarming—and equally tear-inducing—tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman.
On Thursday, it was announced that Disneyland had unveiled a stunning mural honoring Boseman, which is currently located in Downtown Disney. As Variety pointed out, the mural is titled “King Chad” and it features a child in a hospital gown giving the “Wakanda Forever” salute to Boseman as the Black Panther. The child was a nod to the fact that Boseman visited children with cancer at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital campus while he privately battled colon cancer himself.
“This one is special,” mural artist Nikkolas Smith wrote in his Instagram caption, where he shared several images and video from the unveiling ceremony. “My King Chad tribute is now on a wall on display at Downtown Disney. It is a full-circle moment for me: my final two projects as a Disney Imagineer last summer were working on the Children’s Hospital project and the Avengers Campus. 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. I’m so thankful to be able to honor Chadwick’s life and purpose in this way.”
In addition to the specific tribute honoring how Boseman took the time to bring joy to young cancer patients, the image also speaks to the vast impact he had on children across the world. In this image, a little Black boy wearing the Black Panther mask is literally looking up to him. It’s perfect.
Of course, being chosen to create such a major piece of work is a big deal for any artist and Smith was the perfect choice for this particular installation, as he has previously proven to evoke emotion through his work.
“A lot of people will say they don’t know exactly how to process these moments because they’re so traumatic and they’re so heavy,” Smith previously told The Root, when one of his previous pieces honoring Atatiana Jefferson (who was shot and killed by a Texas police officer) went viral. “When I post my art, they say ‘OK. That’s what I wanted to say or that’s what I was feeling. But I didn’t know how to express it.’”
Disneyland (as in, the main parks) is still closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Downtown Disney (the promenade) is currently open to patrons.