Why We’d Hate Coming To America If It Was Released Today


Although there are Black movies (“Black movies” = “movies featuring Black people and/or Black stories”) that are better (Malcolm X, Glory, Do The Right Thing, etc), more important (The Color Purple, Shaft, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, etc), and even funnier (Undercover Brother, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, The Original Kings of Comedy, etc), none are as universally beloved by us as Coming to America. 

While it’s not definitely not loved by every single Black person, there’s no doubt it would appear on more of our favorite’s lists than any other Black film. There’s even less doubt that, if we took a vote, “Queen to Be” could replace “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as our national anthem.

Yet, after re-watching it last weekend for the 367234th time, something dawned on me: If this movie was released in 2014, it would not receive the same love. In fact, many of us would hate it. Not all of us, of course. Many would still enjoy it. But, considering today’s general mood about comedy — where certain types of humor seems to have to pass through a gauntlet of arbitrarily determined standards before considered socially acceptable — there would be so much negative pushback towards it that even the people who loved it would be loathe to publicly admit it.

The pushback would start on Facebook and #blacktwitter weeks before the movie was even released, as word about the plot and the people involved would begin to circulate.

“A White director making a comedy about Africa? #nocountryforoldappropriation”

“Apparently, Arsenio is in a wig during a scene. And a dress. I couldn’t make this sh*t up if I tried. Does everyone in Hollywood hate Black women?”

As the release date neared, and media people started to attend advance screenings, thinkpieces would start to formulate on Slate, The Root, Clutch, EBONY, Jezebel, and (admittedly) VSB.

Coming to America’s Big, Fat Africa Problem: What The Movie Gets Wrong About African Immigrants, And Why It’s So Upsetting 

Queen To Be? Not If She’s Dark: Coming to America’s Disturbing Colorism 

Lisa McDowell, Feminist or Fake?

Homies or Homie/Lover/Friends? Akeem and Semmi’s Very Peculiar Bond

From Mop to Fries in Three Years: On Slave Wages and Cleo McDowell 

Was it Selfish For Eddie and Arsenio To Play Multiple Characters Instead of Hiring More Black Actors?

By the time the movie was set to be released, there would be so many petitions and protests against it that the studio would pull it from the theaters. WorldStarHipHop would buy the rights to it, replace Shari Headley and Allison Dean with Erica Mena and Dutchess from Black Ink, and release it in six 15 minute long installments on their site.

I don’t know if there would be a sequel. Perhaps there would be one 14 years after the original film was released. Who knows? I don’t.

I do know, though, that no one would ever sing “Queen to Be” at their wedding.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

8 Little Known Black Movie “Facts”

From wondering how different The Matrix would have been with Will Smith—the original choice for “Neo”—in it to reading up on the parallels between Coming to America and The Lion King (James Earl Jones and Madge Sinclair were the parents of the lead character in both movies), I’ve always been obsessed with finding trivia and other tidbits about particular movies. IMDB.com is a great source for this type of information. There, I found a few fun bits of trivia from our favorite movies that you may not have known.

1) Boomerang’s original script called for Marcus (Eddie Murphy) to lose both Jacqueline (Robin Givens) and Angela (Halle Berry).

Apparently, one of (director) Reginald Hudlin’s friends advised him that the movie ending with Eddie getting no girl would have upset the audience. And, if the hundreds of thousands of young Black men who wanted to be an “ad exec” after seeing this movie (and wanting Marcus Graham’s life) are any indication, he was definitely right.

2) The list of actresses and entertainers considered for the role of Shug Avery in The Color Purple reads like a “Who’s Who?” of early 80′s pop culture.

Tina Turner, Patti LaBelle, Phyllis Hyman, Lola Falana, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, and Sheryl Lee Ralph all were considered for the role at one point. Basically, if you were a famous Black woman who happened to be in her mid 30′s to early 40′s and you weren’t considered for this role, you probably needed to fire your agent.

3) They apparently start very early in South Central. Like, very, very, very, very, very early.

This is the only way to explain the peculiar parent-child casting decisions in Boyz n The Hood. Although they were father and son in the movie, Laurence Fishburne is only six years older than Cuba Gooding Jr. Adding insult to very early parenthood is the fact that Tyra Ferrell is only seven years older than the actors who played her sons, Morris Chestnut and Ice Cube.

Read more at EBONY.com

Necessary Evils.

sugeknightOne of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in life is Vampire in Brooklyn.  It’s one of Eddie Murphy’s dark hours, up there with The Golden Child (which I actually like but is truly terrible) and Pluto Nash on the Asstastic-o-meter.  But it was OnDemand and I was bored on Tuesday night so I watched it anyway.  It didn’t take long to remember why it sucked, but then my favorite scene came on.

It’s the scene where Maximilian the Caribbean vampire takes over the form of the Reverend Pauly and goes on a rant about evil being good – and more specifically, necessary evil.  See he contends that without evil, there is no good, therefore, evil is necessary. To wit:

“Deacon was out on Bushwick last night with a $2 ho.  But he had a good time with that $2 ho.

Evil is good.  And azz is good.  And if you get you a piece of evil azz, WOOO.”

Beautiful music when champagne flutes clink.


Anyway, that scene got me to thinking about necessary evils. And not just $2 hoez either.  While those are definitely necessary (and evil) – face it, everybody can’t afford to pay $500 a pop, no pun intended, in these times of economic depression – I just can’t rightfully make a legitimate case for a $2 ho to be something worthy of writing about.  You know, aside from the words I’ve already written.  Video  hoez on the other hand.

I seem to have lost my point.

Ah yes, necessary evils.  What makes a necessary evil?  To me, it’s one of those things that you wish you didn’t have to deal with, but in reality, you really do need it.  I see you looking and asking yourself, what is Panama talking about?

Glad you asked.

1)  Tyler Perry

As much as we hate him (though he also has as many people that love him, no real middle ground here), he’s made all of his own movies on his own without the help from any major studios or anything.  Which is blatantly obvious by the lack of acting talent most actors display in his movies.  I mean, hell, he’s managed to turn decent actors, like Derek Luke, into terrible actors in movies where the plot diverges and reconnects in more retarded ways than a school full of monkeys playing Scrabble with $2 hoez named Sylvia.  But alas, if he wasn’t making movies, the only Black movies we’d get per year would be documentaries called Black in America with an ambiguous chick named Soledad who got excited by some sh*t she found on ancestry.com.  Yes, Black America, we need Tyler Perry.

By the way, has there ever been a more polarizing individual than Tyler Perry?

2)  Condoms

They evil because they take away the feeling.  But they’re necessary because I mean really with all of the STDs and genetically questionable children running around, a little prevention can go a long way.  Just put it in the bag.  No Drake.

3) 50 Cent

King of the Evil Empire, he’s actually the only interesting thing going in hip-hop this side of Lil Wayne and his new game show, “Guess My Next Baby Mama”.  And by hip-hop, I mean the culture, not his music.  But I’ll listen to a 50 Cent interview all day long pal.  It’s bound to be entertaining, informational, and he just might be the funniest rapper ever.  Without him, we’re stuck listening to people like Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and T.I. all day.  While Lil Wayne is fun, I’m not completely sure HE knows what he’s saying.  And Jay is just boring to me now.  He’s like A-Rod.  All feels rehearsed and sh*t.

4)  Apple, Inc.

I’m convinced that Steve Jobs is the king of the Evil Empire but you know what?  I just can’t live without my radio iPod.  And even if you have some random ass Zune or some other offbrand mp3 player to make a point, it’s because of iPods and Apple.  You are carrying around a bootleg mp3 player because iPod exists and you’re ironic.

5) Very Smart Brothas

Sure Panama has pissed off more people than BET, and sure The Champ has told more people to handle his nuts than two squirrels at a Planter’s factory, but have a baby by me baby, be a millionaire what would you do if you could get with the Dogg Pound if we suddenly disappeared? Hate it or love it, it’s not that we can’t stop it’s just that we won’t stop.  Plus, where would other motherf*ckers get their inspiration posts from?

6)  Suge Knight

No Suge, No Dr. Dre The Chronic.  No Chronic.  No Snoop and Doggystyle.  No Snoop no resurgent Bishop Don Magic Juan.  Okay…maybe that’s not all necesary.

Any other necessary evils you can think of?  Gimme what  you got.


Career Moves 101

HereLiesBuried“…dead rappers get better promotion…” ~ Jadakiss, “We Gonna Make It”

It’s been a little over a month since Michael Jackson died.


Since he died there have been beaucoup stories about the life he lived and where he went wrong.  And despite my uber-bias towards MJdom, I can admit that his career essentially peaked almost 30 years ago.  And still, MJ’s going to go down as the greatest entertainer ever – but with detractors.  But imagine if he had died say…after the Bad album.

Or hell, even Dangerous. Continue reading