Anyaé Johns | Staff Writer
Thirty-two years after the culture shifting film Coming to America (1988) premiered, Zamunda is still a part of Black culture, exuding royalty displayed in its highest capacity while delving deeper into traditions and a keen sense on how to bring generations together in the highly anticipated sequel, Coming 2 America.
During an HBCU roundtable interview on February 10, cast members of Coming 2 America discussed some of the highlights and gave insights into what is going on in the world of Zamunda all these years later.
The Coming 2 America roundtable discussion featured Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler and Rotimi. Throughout the discussion, there were many prominent themes such as the unification of Black culture, women empowerment and family dynamics in the Black community.
Jermaine Fowler (Lavelle) exposes the disconnect between older and younger generations, dives deeper into his character’s story and bridges the gap between generations to move the culture forward.
Intergenerational tension is not a foreign idea by any means and Fowler considers this when he speaks highly of his own relationship with his father, in which there is deep love but a disconnect still exists.
In light of this, Fowler said there is still a responsibility to “pay it forward and pay it back to him” through this experience.
Fowler continued by sharing a personal story of how he got his dad his first therapist recently and how big the moment led to his realization that we need to respect what we’ve been through because not much has changed.
He noted that while guidance from elders is essential, there has to be ways in which the present generation can “work together for a common goal and figure out what we all do best to get things moving forward” in a culture that is full of division.
Speaking to the intergenerational power of this film, Fowler voiced his hopes for the new story to allow for fans of the original to find that same success they once experienced that will make “people to sit down and enjoy what makes them so great together” and connect them with the new audience in a way that’s interactive and conversational.
Rotimi (Pretty Iddi) shed light on what he hopes people will gain from watching the sequel.
Rotimi expressed that the powers of enjoyment and escapism are necessary to utilize as unifying tools during our present times, noting that “something nostalgic … something that’s a positive piece of Black anything is good right now.”
Rotimi looks forward to seeing how fans will react to the movie on social media.
“I’m excited to see Twitter go crazy and Instagram go crazy, and a couple memes of me, you know what I’m saying, everybody else don’t worry about anybody else,” Rotimi said. “I think that we just need to embellish on the positive. I think our culture needs something like that, the world needs to laugh, that’s really what it is.”
Eddie Murphy (King Akeem) raves about his experience coming back more than 30 years later to portray Prince Akeem in a new sense of power as king of Zamunda.
Murphy illuminated the power of venturing into “uncharted territory” by attempting to continue the story of Coming to America 32 years later. The ambitious journey was a four-to-five-year period of creative exploration that turned into a “great script” to make something special. Therein lies the joy of getting to be “doing something that’s never been done before.”
The cast is excited for all Coming to America fans to finally get to watch the sequel they put a lot of work into. The anticipated film will premiere Friday, March 5, through Amazon Prime Video.