I could probably fill this blog for a few weeks getting caught up on all the murals done by Charles Key (who signs his work JamersonSGC and “Low Key Art”). He created this mural memorializing Chadwick Boseman in early September 2020, just a few days after Boseman’s death.
Boseman of course was best known for his role as T’Challa/Black Panther in the Marvel Universe movies. The Black Panther movie of 2018 has been one of the most popular of all the Marvel movies and is the ninth-highest grossing film in history. Black Panther was also the first major blockbuster with a predominantly Black cast and is the highest-grossing film with a Black director. Before Black Panther, Boseman had a varied career for someone who died relatively young. He had the range to star both as Thurgood Marshall and James Brown in biofilms, and his breakout role was as Jackie Robinson in “42.” Boseman was also an active philanthropist, including donating $4.2 million worth of PPE gear to hospitals serving Black communities just months before he died.
In an interview with News Channel 5, Key explained the importance of the image he had chosen, which comes from a promotional poster for the Black Panther movie.
Charles admits he didn’t watch the movies like his kids, but there was something about the grace and dignity Boseman brought to the role that he couldn’t ignore.
He finally landed on an image that seemed to capture that. With his head bowed and his hands to his face, something about this picture of Boseman tells others there’s more to the man than you know.
“In the movie, this is the king. So we never know what people are going through when they have to make decisions,” Key Jr. said.
The long-term fate of this mural is suddenly uncertain, and not just because Key is in the habit of editing and reworking his murals. The building it sits on, which houses Ideal Liquor Store and David’s Discount Tobacco and Beer, sold a few weeks ago for $1.57 million. It was bought by the Tennesee Justice Center, a non-profit that works with needy families. As of this writing, they have not announced plans for the building.
Located at 155 Lafayette Street, at the corner with Fairfield Avenue. The mural is on the southern end of the building and faces Lafayette. There is plenty of parking available.