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To Ruth E. Carter, the color white in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was “very specific and meaningful” for the costume design. White not only connects “us to tradition in Africa,” Carter explained, it also pays tribute to “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman.

“In the Ancestral Plane, when T’Challa wakes up and sees his father, he’s wearing white,” Carter told Variety on Thursday night at the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Youth of the Year Gala. “White is a color that’s worn in a lot of funerals in Africa — it’s either bright red or it’s white — and we chose white because it connects us to Chadwick, to T’Challa.”

Boseman died in August 2020 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. While the question of who will become the new Black Panther still lingers, Carter shared a few details about redesigning the hero’s suit.

“There was a very careful study of how do we make this person a superhero without changing them so much, that it’s not believable as them,” Carter said, avoiding any reference to who is donning the costume. “This one has silver and gold elements [while] our beloved Chadwick Boseman’s suit was all silver, so that already made it a lot more glamorous for the wearer.”

Carter attended the Boys & Girls Clubs’ 75th National Youth of the Year Gala at The Beverly Hilton, where one teen finalist among six honorees claimed this year’s national title.

“I took my first sewing class ever at the Boys & Girls Club,” Carter told Variety. “I remember that class because I tried cutting out a pattern without pinning it to the material. That was the first lesson that I learned — you have to pin it down.”

At the ceremony, country music artist Kane Brown received this year’s Champion of Youth Award. “I’ve heard some of the stories from the kids tonight, and I just wanted you to know, I grew up just like all y’all did,” Brown said in his acceptance speech. “I went through child abuse, I went through racism … [but] it makes you tougher and it makes you stronger through every career and dream that you want to do. I used to live in a car, and now look at me.”

Asked whether the honorees’ stories inspired him to write a song, Brown told Variety, “Usually, I get asked questions like that and I’d probably say, ‘I don’t know.’ But tonight, just [hearing] the stories and everything about how intelligent they are, it definitely could inspire a song.”

Finalist Asha Haddox-Rossiter, Boys & Girls Clubs’ 2022 Southeast Youth of the Year, was named this year’s National Youth of the Year. Guests at the gala included Miguel, Ruben Studdard, Mark Sanchez, Titus O’Neil, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin and Courtney B. Vance.