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Interactive: New Ben's Chili Bowl Mural Features DC Legends

Hover over each photo of the mural to learn about each person featured

The D.C. institution Ben’s Chili Bowl unveiled a new mural on Wednesday, showcasing 15 African-American legends of music, politics and media.

A huge cast of D.C. luminaries spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, including Dave Chappelle, Dick Gregory, Mayor Muriel Bowser, News4's own Jim Vance, Chuck Brown's daughter, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Cora Masters Barry.

NBC4’s own Jim Vance is featured on the new Ben’s Chili Bowl Mural. He joined us via telephone to talk more about the honor.

Hover over the murals below to learn more about each person featured. 

The mural featuring many D.C. legends depicts Dick Gregory, Dave Chappelle, Marion Barry, Jim Vance, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Wale, Russ Parr, Taraji P. Henson, Donnie Simpson, Roberta Flack, Prince, Chuck Brown, Muhammad Ali, Harriet Tubman, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama.

The mural's new subjects were decided by 30,000 people who cast their vote last winter. The previous mural featured President Barack Obama, Donnie Simpson, Chuck Brown and Bill Cosby. Of those four, only Bill Cosby was not included in new mural.

The many sexual assault allegations against Cosby were not why the Ali family replaced the mural, Vida Ali said.

"You know what's so funny, we didn't even think about it until someone brought it to our attention," she said. "It was purely on the voting."

The mural painted in 2012 lacked a protective coating and began deteriorating, Ali said.

"We knew at some point it would have to be changed," she said. "We thought a great way of doing it would be letting the community decide."

The mural was painted by Aniekan Udofia, an artist whose murals of Frederick Douglass and George Washington have earned him local fame. Udofia was selected through MuralsDC, a public art and graffiti-prevention initiative that gives local artists the chance to hone their talents while refurbishing the District's walls. 

News4's own Jim Vance and comedy legend Dick Gregory speak at the unveiling on Wednesday of a new mural outside Ben's Chili Bowl's flagship location on U Street NW.
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