Before there was Wakanda in the Black Panther, there was Zamunda in Coming to America, so it’s fitting that Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter is the sartorial storyteller behind the upcoming sequel, Coming 2 America.
For more than 30 years, Ruth — who became the first Black woman to win an Academy Award in costume design for her work on Black Panther — has brought her character-centric, colorful costumes to pioneering films focused on Black culture and the African experience, including Amistad, Malcolm X, Selma, Love & Basketball and Do the Right Thing (just to, you know, name a few).
And, finally, it’s Coming 2 America‘s turn.
The long-awaited follow up to the 1988 cult comedy classic — known as much for its legendary characters as its opulent costumes — is finally premiering on March 5 on Amazon Prime Video. The film follows newly-crowned King Akeem (Eddie Murphy) and his trusted confidante Semmi (Arsenio Hall) as they embark on an all-new adventure that takes them from their royal African nation of Zamunda back to Queens, NY.
There’s a new generation of royals joining the star-studded cast in the sequel (including KiKi Layne, Jermaine Fowler and Teyana Taylor), giving Ruth the opportunity to amplify the opulence of African royalty through a fresh, modern lens.
While we’ve only seen a sneak peek, the costumes proudly on display seem to tell an entire story within themselves — from the rich hues and embroidered fabrics to the bold patterns and lavish jewels.
While we wait anxiously to see the film (and, let’s be honest, the styles), we’re staying inspired by Ruth’s sketches.