Coming to America revisited..
What a lovely weekend I had if you care to know! I hope you did too. This morning I wound myself into my Sunday slow-down-don’t-wanna-do-a-damn-thaaang mode. It turned out Coming to America was on on tv1 and for some reason whenever it’s on, i never immediately turn the channel. I think that is the 1 movie I have watched THE most in my whole entire life! So much so that at a point in my life when I lived in Nairobi and we ddn’t have cable my cousin and I would watch it 3 or 4 times in a row and say the whole script line for line each time 😀
But I digress..
I was looking at it with different eyes today! At the time the movie came out circa my “terrible 2s” I’m not really sure what the expectations and perceptions of race in the movie industry were. Was everyone just glad it was a blockbusting black movie with mass appeal and well produced. Also it’s a comedy so maybe some of the things I noticed today didn’t even matter.Not to bring up a racial issue that today, depending on where you stand or self-identify in the Black community, but to me i was noticing the light skin / dark skin issue. The daughter who was the virginal sweet one and daddy’s little girl was the light skin one with what some would say is “good hair”. The dad was all the way bending over backwards to marry her off to a rich eligible bachelor. It’s almost like the darker, more outspoken daughter was a step child or something – like she wasn’t even his child. She was also casted to play the role of that loud, gold-digging, gum popping character. I don’t remember there being a scene where he positively interacted with her or even tried to set her up with someone nice….weird innit?!
I obviously have my own biases in the way I saw the movie that could even be seen as me projecting my insecurities, but i think whatever you or I might want to read into my interpretation about myself, this embodiment of certain values in one character and not another is worthy of discussion.
The dark skinned daughter didn’t really have the familial/parental shielding that her light skinned sister had. Darryl, the grease ball, himself was, in his role, supposed to be attractive because of his lighter skin and uncoiled hair. It just cracks me up how much of a social climber and colorist the dad was. Almost reminds me of those eager moms in African movies who are sooo caught up in marrying their daughters to a rich guy – almost as if they are getting paid to do it. Worried about who’s who and basically hitting the jackpot. Cha ching!
What do you think? The colorism may not have been intentional, but sometimes an evaluation of the dealings of the dirty dealings of the subconcious serves for great self awareness….
(I thought to get into talking about the portrayals of Africa, Africanness etc, but that will be another post because I don’t know how many times i roll my eyes at those scenes now that i’m grown-er lol…)
Your thoughts… 🙂