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‘Coming 2 America’ doubles down on Black empowerment


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One of the longest-awaited sequels in Hollywood is finally closing in on its arrival as Amazon Prime held a set of press conferences for “Coming 2 America” on Wednesday, Feb 10.

Originally set to be released by Paramount Pictures before the COVID-19 pandemic caused them to sell the rights exclusively to Amazon, the sequel is among the most anticipated releases of the year. With only a very slight few not in attendance, among those that spoke were Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones and more from this new highly anticipated film.

As Tracy Morgan states, “this is the Mount Rushmore of black comedy.”  They answered so many of the questions we had for them and just as they appear to be so close on screen, off screen you can see how the cast has really become family. Jermaine Fowler, who plays Prince Akeem’s (Eddie Murphy) son in the movie, makes that apparent by stating how his character through realizing how important his family is, he’s able to inadvertently influence King Akeem to see what really is important in life, true love.

“Yeah. Inadvertently, he does. What I go through with my situation with Mirembe, he slowly gets reminded about what brought him to Queens and his love for Lisa. All that comes back to him,” Fowler said. “But it’s something you learn throughout the movie. Without my family, my aunts, my uncles, my mom, and Mirembe that we all start to realize this movie is just a reminder of what true love is. Sometimes you’ve
got to get bumped in the head a little bit to just remember that.”

With Eddie Murphy’s daughter Bella Murphy joining him on the big screen, she explains how exciting it was to be a part of such a huge legacy after watching her father exude “black excellence” on stage in the first film.

“I saw this one kind of young, I was either 10 or 11,” Murphy said about the original film. “I don’t think there was negotiation. I just watched it. But it was really cool. It was cool to see my dad like that, because that was the first time I saw images of black royalty on stage or onscreen.

“So it was cool and even cooler that it was my dad. So I felt really empowered and yeah, it was awesome.”

With so much success from the first film, Eddie’s vision for this movie was to “have a strong narrative thread and then bring younger writers in to put a modern spin on it” meaning updating the hero’s journey of finding oneself that highlighted the original Coming to America (1988). Eddie states, “the themes are timeless” and compares it to Fiddler on the Roof.

“It’s just about family, and love, and doing the right thing, and tradition. That’s what the movie is about,” Murphy glowed. “And it’s these amazing images of black Kings and Queens, and princesses and all this stuff is going. It’s like, it’s the only movie that’s… Black Panther did it. The second movie that had black Kings and black…The very first one is Coming to America. And the third one is Coming 2 America.”

Murphy continued with a humbling story about how it’s not often you see a Black movie that tells this type of story.

“It’s like…Only time we’re seen like this around with just some people in the movie, just some telling this story about human beings stuff that everybody can relate to. The themes are timeless. Love and all this marrying somebody for who you want to, who you really love. It’s a lot of stuff that’s in it. Fiddler on the Roof has a lot of stuff that’s similar images, and similar stuff is similar themes is Coming to America.

A few of the cast members all agreed that the characters they played were just extensions of themselves, as stated by Nomzamo Mbatha (Mirembe) and these roles allowed them to be just greater versions of themselves. The newly added cast felt the pressure put on having to live up to the standards of the success of the original, but because of the family-oriented environment and how encouraging the original cast was, it was a laughter-filled environment for everyone on set.

With the movie being filmed at Tyler Perry Studios, it also influenced the cast of how important it is to have Black-made and produced content that will show Black youths across the world that it is possible to create a legacy for yourself in an industry that might not be so accepting of this.

A big theme in the press conference was the importance of ethnicity when creating these projects and getting people to see and understand them worldwide, as the first Coming to America was the first all-Black casted film in the world to do so. Mr. Murphy’s vision truly comes to life in Coming 2 America and he has successfully sent out a message to the world and to the female leads of this movie that women rule and to just be yourself!

The biggest takeaway from this press conference was how much the deeper meaning of the film has for Eddie Murphy personally and every other cast member. In addition, how empowering it is to be able to provide world-wide representation in the film industry for African American people.

Coming 2 America will officially be on Amazon Prime video on March 5.

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