Ghanaian filmmaker Leila Djansi is not impressed with the sequel to the 1988 classic ‘Coming to America’, describing it as mildly offensive. In a Facebook post, the American-based filmmaker said she was disappointed in some of the scenes from the Hollywood movie, saying they were discriminatory and disrespectful to Africa and its people.
“As an African, I found #Coming2America mildly offensive. Jungles, wild animals, child warriors and war. Come on Hollywood, these tropes show how discriminatory and disrespectful y’all are. Enough! There’s more to Africa and please don’t try hiding em within wealth,” she wrote.
On March 4, the much-awaited romantic-comedy finally dropped on Amazon Prime Video. Directed by Craig Brewer, Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) manages to track down his supposed son and apparent heir Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler), and breaks the news to him. He also later meets up with Lavelle’s mom, who is played by Leslie Jones. When they all return to the kingdom of Zamunda, we get to know things aren’t that rosy in the royal family after Prince Akeem introduces his daughters and wife to Lavelle and his mother. It appears one of his daughters is unhappy she cannot be heir to the throne due to tradition.
There’s also a power struggle as Prince Akeem talks about General Izzi’s (Wesley Snipes) desire to take over Zamunda. The film contained scenes with a lion, and one with an elephant, where the CGI looked so unbelievable, according to one reviewer.
Djansi, who feels so strongly about how Africa is portrayed in western media, does not think it was necessary seeing such wild animals in the movie. She argued that these are the images and narratives used to keep Africa oppressed and the African from advancing. “There’s more to Africa and please don’t try hiding em within wealth,” the Like Cotton Twines director wrote. “I don’t understand this unwillingness to change and accept that these images and ideas are wrong, mostly lies. Spent 15 years of my life in Ghana and never even seen a squirrel.”
“Child soldiers? Chicago gun totting gang kids? Can we talk about that? STOP!! Africans are regular people. African cities are cosmopolitan. African villages are what they are based on culture and geography. Let’s not discuss villages in the South. Georgia?”
‘Coming 2 America’ has so far garnered mixed reviews but the one thing which reviewers seem to have agreed upon is Eddie Murphy’s splendid performance.