The meaning of Wakanda Forever is still a mystery to many Black Panther fans. With the sad news of Chadwick Boseman’s death, many are remembering the actor for his role in the cult movie and wondering about the significance of the iconic salute.

Though the salute is so iconic, the Wakanda Forever meaning is still a mystery for many.

Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage

Wakanda Forever meaning explained

  • At its core, the salute comes from the Marvel film Black Panther and is used as a greeting in the fictional universe of Wakanda.

In many powerful scenes throughout both Black Panther and Avengers, we see the main character T’Challa proudly shout “Wakanda Forever” when greeting others or leading his troops into battle.

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Chadwick Boseman said that director Ryan Coolger had approached him explaining that the film needed a salute for the king’s guards, the ‘Dora Milaje’, to salute him.

In the same interview, Boseman also confirms that the salute is always done with the right arm over the left.

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What is the origin of Wakanda Forever?

In the director’s commentary of the movie, Coogler explained that various cultures and languages inspired the salute

“We kinda got it from the pharaohs and the West African sculptures that you’ll see, with the arms folded over like that,” he explained. “It also means a ‘hug’ or ‘love’ in ASL [American Sign Language]”

In ancient Egypt, they often posed pharaoh statues with their arms crossed over one another.

Coogler explained that brotherhood and love is a huge part of Wakandan culture, hence the use of the ‘love’ ASL sign.

The Wakanda Forever meaning in real life

Since Black Panther gained popularity, the Wakanda Forever meaning developed and became a sign used to signify black excellence.

In 2018, black athletes began doing the salute to celebrate their wins when scoring a goal, like Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba, or winning a match like tennis player Sachia Vickery.