From 2012 to 2017, the historic U Street location of Ben’s Chili Bowl was host to a mural of Barack Obama, Donnie Simpson, Chuck Brown, and Bill Cosby. After Cosby was charged in a sexual assault case, the owners of the establishment worked to distance themselves from the comedian, removing photos of him from their wall.
When the entire mural was removed in January 2017, what was left behind was a white wall and the stenciled words, “New Year, New Mural.” In order to decide who would be the next celebrity faces on the blank wall, Ben’s Chili Bowl offered a poll to the public for them to decide. Celebrities in the poll included Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Frederick Douglass, and Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias.
Recently, the brand new mural made its debut, this time with Washington Wizards basketball players Bradley Beal and John Wall. Below, see a few photos of the mural. [UPDATE: This mural is temporary and will be replaced early May, according to Vida Ali, daughter-in-law of the founders and spokeswoman for Ben’s Chili Bowl.]
• Ben’s Chili Bowl removes Bill Cosby, Obama mural [Curbed DC]