'Black Panther' inspires Wakanda Forever salute from athletes

Chadwick Boseman's arm-crossing gesture has taken on a meaning outside its use in the Marvel superhero movie.

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Gael Cooper
2 min read

One of the most memorable gestures from recent movies is the Wakanda Forever salute from "Black Panther." In the below brief video, star Chadwick Boseman demonstrates it on the Academy Awards red carpet.

Now the gesture has spread outside of the theater, with some athletes celebrating their victories by making the salute.

French tennis player Gael Monfils and American player Sachia Vickery both gave the crossed-armed salute after recent victories. 

Monfils explained what it meant to him:

"I think that movie is great, it's great for the community, for our community, it means quite a lot," he said, according to Sport360.com. "It's not just a sign. It's everything. It's everything going on and definitely it's a shout-out saying that I'm supporting the Black Panther's community," 

Vickery, whose parents are from Guyana, is a true "Black Panther" superfan who's seen the movie at least four times.

Soccer players, including Jesse Lingard of Manchester United, have used the salute as well. 

And Kenyan rugby player Collins Injera did it too.

The gesture isn't limited to celebrating sports wins, though. Boseman used it to greet co-star Daniel Kaluuya when Kaluuya and director Jordan Peele accepted the best feature award for "Get Out" at the Independent Spirit Awards.

It's a fairly simple gesture, but it's also easy to get it wrong. You make an X with your arms across your chest, but your right arm goes over your left, not the other way. We know this because Kaluuya, who plays W'Kabi in the film, showed Tiffany Haddish and Michael Strahan how to do it on Oscar night.

"Black Panther" cast members have been seen doing the salute on Instagram and other social media.

W A K A N D A F O R E V E R ! ! @blackpanther #SquadGoals

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

The #Wakanda love runs deep on @fallontonight. #BlackPanther

A post shared by Chadwick Boseman (@chadwickboseman) on

Marlon Wayans has his arms in the wrong configuration in the above photo, but King T'Challa (Boseman) next to him would never make that goof.

Some, however, have questioned the meaning of the gesture showing up at sports events. 

"Are these black athletes saying their loyalty lies with their race over their nationality?" asked Reddit user mysterion. "Wakanda is, after all, a black ethnostate. Now imagine if white people did this at an event and advocated for their own ethnostate. They'd be banned from sport forever."

Others found that criticism overblown.

"No it's not," responded Dapperdan814. "Wakanda is fiction. It's nothing but visuals on film and paper. Now excuse me while I fill out this application to Hogwarts."

"Black Panther" recently passed the billion-dollar mark at the global box office, and a sequel has been officially confirmed.

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