Nostalgia and Surprises Abound in Coming 2 America.

Coming 2 America Chicago Defender

It is time to return to Zamunda with the eagerly anticipated Coming 2 America sequel.  In the film released one day early, Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall return 33 years later with a host of familiar characters and a few new faces.  The original Coming to America film is widely revered in our community as a classic.  Many hoped the sequel would do the original justice.

A lot has changed since the filming of the original film.  Written by Kenya Barris, and original screenwriters, Barry W. Blaustein and David Sheffield Coming 2 America comes after the incredible worldwide success of Black Panther.  A thought that is not lost on Eddie Murphy or Arsenio Hall.

“The original Coming to America is the first one that had an all-black cast that was successful all around the world.  It’s about family, love, doing the right thing, and tradition. These images of Black kings and queens, princesses, and all this. Black Panther did it, we did it with the first Coming to America and now again”.-Eddie Murphy on the legacy of Coming to America.

The film was shot entirely in Atlanta and filmed on the Tyler Perry Sound Stages, the first Black Owned film Studio.

“We were on the Tyler Perry lot. That was magical. That brother created that.  There were days I would be standing with Tracy and Leslie, laughing my @ss off. It was the greatest experience”. –Arsenio Hall

Coming 2 America Chicago Defender

Where They Left Off

Coming 2 America picks up where the original left off and provides moments of heartfelt and funny nostalgia. We learn what happened to Prince Akeem since the wedding to his queen, Lisa McDowell (Sherri Headley).  As the couple begins the celebration of their 30th wedding anniversary, we are introduced to his children (played by Murphy’s daughter, Bella Murphy, Kiki Layne, and Akiley Love).   The family settled and created their life in Zamunda.  Prince Akeem’s father-in-law, Cleo McDowell also now resides in Zamunda. He has expanded his McDowell’s empire to Zamunda. The country is thriving until a vision from the Kings’ witch doctor, Baba (Arsenio Hall) threatens the peace of the country and the family lineage.

The Prince has a son in America.  If he does not find his son, his nemeses General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) threatens to go to war with Zamunda.  General Izzi wants his daughter, Bopoto Izzi (Teyana Taylor) to marry the heir to make up for Prince Akeem leaving his sister, Imani Izzi (Vanessa Bell Callaway) hoping and barking like a dog at the altar.  Prince Akeem travels back to Queens New York with his friend and loyal aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall). From there Coming 2 America puts the missing pieces of the past together and introduces a new cast of characters.

Tying it together

Coming 2 America Chicago Defender

Through interwoven clips from the original film, Coming 2 America, allows the audience to enjoy the nostalgia from the past while embracing the new characters who bring their own hilarious and memorable moments throughout the film. Mary and Reem Junson (Leslie Jones and Tracey Morgan) are hilarious as siblings who are excited one of their family members is now royalty.  Lavelle Junson (Jermaine Fowler) is Prince Akeem’s son with Mary. I won’t spoil it but Coming 2 America does a great job explaining the love child between Mary and Prince Akeem.

They all return to Zamunda to prepare the future heir to secure his birthright.  What occurs next is a series of events to bring the family closer and provide the Prince with new insight into what kind of King he wants to be. Coming 2 America is filled with throwbacks, characters new and old, and a few surprises in between. While the film does not quite capture the hilarity of the first, it is a fun return to a familiar place.

Special mention should go to the incredible costume design of Oscar-winning designer, Ruth Carter and the outstanding choreography of Fatima Robinson.

Coming 2 America is a film that is sure to provide moments of laughter and entertainment. With everything going on in the world right now, a trip to Zamunda is the trip I needed right now.

Coming 2 America is currently streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.



Danielle Sanders is a writer and journalist living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSandersOfficial.

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