It’s not clear what critics were expecting to find in the sequel to Coming to America, a 1988 box- office hit produced by Eddie Murphy Productions. Dubbed Coming 2 America, the movie-upon its release last month had received mixed reviews, toxic and positive reviews. Some called the storyline dated and in Nigeria, many were thrilled to see the Afrobeats artist, Davido performing as himself in the movie. There seems to be a loathsome wind around sequels. Very easily, the new installment can be written off as not having any shock value, or too predictable. Quite ridiculously, some reviewers wrote that Eddie Murphy is old. Really? Subtract 1988 from 2021, the result is well, old. And for old time’s sake, the bromance between Arsenio Hall (Semmi) and Eddie Murphy (Akeem Joffer) is still timeless and nostalgic of the previous story of their sojourn to America to find love.
With Coming 2 America, movie buffs have only discovered that Akeem Joffer found more than just love. With his father’s dying wish to see his out-of-wedlock grandson as his successor, the conflict of drama is cooked, spiced by the intrusion of General Izzi and his several attempts to make his children heirs to the Zamunda Kingdom through arranged marriage.
But from an African viewpoint, the movie has some merits in its refined thematic focus asides its being a romantic comedy. Akeem’s daughters represent the new spirit of African women who dare to conquer in spheres that are considered as strictly male territories. Many thought this echoed the spirit of Wakanda in the movie ‘Blank Panther’ but in reality, it is a cry for women to be allowed into leadership roles since that is not accomplished by testosterone. Many women who had managed to shatter the glass ceilings to accomplish their dreams had been labelled “prostitutes” or made subjects of harmful gossips that question the merit of their achievements. History is tilting to forget how African women have shown courage in war and activism. Queen Amina of Zaria, Moremi Ajasoro, Osun, Yaa Asantewaa, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti and many more had laid the foundation for women to be reckoned in leadership roles.
Now to Davido. It would seem that one of Africa’s most successful contemporary artists was made the opening act to Sexual Chocolate, a fictional band with a retro vibe with a lead singer, Randy Watson played by Eddie Murphy. But his damask suit emits glamour and class which had been the style of leading artists from Africa like King Sunny Ade, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Mariam Makeba and the likes. With the proliferation of artists who could play multiple characters in one film, the Randy role was such a slapstick compared to his depiction of Saul, a white customer. That is arguably the best make up role in Murphy’s career.
As regards the primitive Africa narrative, Africans should not be quick to resent the lion’s whiskers test that Lavelle Junson is made to undergo to qualify to rule. The political landscape in many parts of Africa is still governed by similar unwritten and obsolete traditions. Leaders are usually persons past the youth age bracket and many young men who had dared to approach the corridors of power have had to go through some procedures that are as daunting as collecting whiskers from a lion. For instance, the voting system and electioneering process are grossly challenging. Ballot-snatching and burning are still the order of the day with no punishment for perpetrators of electoral violence.
Asides having the potential of being nominated and winning best picture, Coming2America boasts of rich costumes, regal and colourful. The allure of the costumes celebrates the African taste for fashion. And to bring Queens to Zamunda is a way of showcasing Africa to the world that in spite of our obsolete traditions, Africa is still one of the most sophisticated continents in world history, rich in art and potentials for impacting global economy.