For all the serious stuff we wrote or filmed about, tweeted or Facebooked this year, this was undoubtedly the year that Prince Akeem, Queen Aoleon, King Jaffe Joffer and the “African” Kingdom of Zamunda made a spectacular comeback. Whether it was Snoop Dogg’s wife throwing a “Coming to Africa” birthday party for their son (TMZ has the video evidence), rapper Jidenna (!) throwing his “Nigerian Renaissance Ball,” Action Bronson reprising the whole film as a music video (Chance the Rapper played the Cuba Gooding Jnr. role) and, most notably, the Knowles-Carters borrowing not once–but twice–first in May (we couldn’t help noticing their inspiration) or at Halloween (above), everyone seemed to be in on Eddie Murphy and John Landis’s 1988 send-up of African stereotypes.
Well, not everyone seemed to be in the joke: For example, Kandi from TV’s Real Housewives of Atlanta recreated scenes from Coming to America, including rose petals and real lions, for her wedding: “I wanted to do something inspired by Africa,” she said. Nevertheless, the upshot of all of this is that it is so 1988 to go after bad Western media representations of Africa and Africans. We dispense with that on Twitter. There are more important things going on. Of course, someone is probably planning to write a blog post (calling out celebrities who can’t find Zamunda on a map) or a dense academic paper (quoting Baudrillard or Stuart Hall) about what Zamunda stands for or to decipher Randy Watson’s homilies. While they figure that out (we’re onto something else in the meantime, just check the Archive), I’ll take the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who worked on AIAC this year and for staying the course. We’re exhausted. So, we’ll be on a break from tomorrow till January 13th. Here’s to 2016.