Coming to America 2 – The Jewelry

We return to Zamunda after over 3 decades, and it is just as opulent and fascinating as it was the first time, not to mention hilarious. The dance choreography, the outfits, the jewelry, oh my! Eddie Murphy is back as Prince Akeem, with his Royal friends and family. Time to catch up!

If you saw Coming to America in 1988 (or anytime since then), you know that this franchise is not some remarkable cinematic masterpiece but the blockbuster brought about something new. It was visually appealing to viewers from around the globe. Zamunda is fictional, but we were teleported there just as believably as the film’s other location: Queens, NY.  I will never forget my first viewing; it blew me away, not only because I was young and most of all blue humor went over my head. I had never seen anything like it. I was too young to see it in the theatre, but when I did see it I still needed to ‘be kind, and rewind,” so that dates me. 😉


Queen Lisa and King Akeem of Zamunda in Coming TO America
Queen Lisa and King Akeem of Zamunda in Coming to America (Image Source: Twitter)


A portrait of James Earl Jones as King Joffer of Zamunda in his regailia
King Joffer, as portrayed by James Earl Jones, in a custom crown by Ezmaralda Gordon (Image Source: Ezmaralda’s site, Studio of the Empress)

The costume designer for the original Coming to America was Debra Nadoolman (Landis), who happens to also be the wife of the director John Landis. Nadoolman was nominated for an Academy Award in 1988 for her inspired costume design in the film. The jewelry and the crowns were tasked to Ezmaralda Gordon, who used 60 bench workers to create all of the pieces in an unbelievable 45 days.

The jewelry collection was brought out on a 21 city tour, which was an industry first. The Zamundan crowns were filled with some genuine rare gems and she cut the large center stones with additional facets so that they sparkled like true diamonds. The collection is housed at Paramount Studios and was not able to be accessed for the sequel.

The original royal family from Coming to America
The Original Royal Family from Coming to America



The Royal Family of fictional Zamunda in their regalia, standing in a crowd.
The Zamundan Royalty


Bopoto Izzi (Teyana Taylor) (via Fashionista)
 Teyana Taylor playing Bopoto Izzi.

The costume designer for Coming 2 America was Ruth E. Carter, who won an Oscar for her costume design on the groundbreakingly well-received Black Panther. Ms. Carter dressed them in vastly different styles. She honored that they are different places while maintaining the rich tapestry of African culture. She applied her expert eye to recreating the look and masterfully updating it from the original foray into Zamunda to the current day.

Princess Meeka with Hair Adornment and a crown
Princess Meeka with Hair Adornment (Image Source: Tumblr)

The creation of all of the jewelry looks had to start over from scratch. From Fashionista: “In addition to custom-designing and building countless costumes in her always “on fire” workshop. Carter collaborated with 39 independent designers, including Toronto, Lagos, and NYC-based Andrea Iyamah and Los Angeles jewelry maker Melody Ehsani; meanwhile, Beyoncé and Cardi B favorite Laurel DeWitt made all the elaborate Zamundan crowns and gilded headpieces. “

The "Current Day" Royal Family of Zamunda
The “Current Day” Royal Family of Zamunda

These collaborations made the movie visually stunning. In the first film, they came to America, and the bulk of the action took place in New York. It’s more standard fare like t-shirts and jeans on the NY set. In the sequel, they spend most of their time in Zamunda filling the screen with color and extravagance. You may recognize some styles, like the Bulgari Serpenti necklace that Queen Lisa presents to Mary Junson (played by Leslie Jones).

If you enjoyed the first movie, this continuation will serve the nostalgia. You can enjoy the looks even if the movie is not your cup of tea. The reviews are admittedly mixed, but I enjoyed the visit to the story and imagery that I enjoyed so much when I was young.

KiKi Layne as Princess Meeka
KiKi Layne as Princess Meeka The stunning Princess Meeka. This movie is a bit of a reversal of the first, seems fitting that Prince Akeem’s firstborn’s name should be his reversed.
Queen Lisa gifting Mary Junson (Leslie Jones) a Bulgari Serpenti Necklace
Queen Lisa gifting Mary Junson (Leslie Jones) a Bulgari Serpenti Necklace

Coming 2 America is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Did you see it? What was your favorite piece?

Written by Kayti Kawachi

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