Steeped in a rich history of perseverance, diversity, and sustaining a legacy, Crown Royal embodies the same regal essence of Coming to America, a cult classic that introduced audiences to Black excellence at its finest. In anticipation of the franchise’s sequel, in partnership with Crown Royal we paired two of today’s hottest culture makers with African roots to discuss the magnitude of the original and how it gave birth to a generation of ‘New Royalty.’ 

In 1988, Eddie Murphy struck gold with Coming to America, a laugh-out-loud comedy about an endearing African prince named Akeem who bucked tradition on a quest to find true love in an unlikely place: Queens, New York. With a singular blend of heart and humor, the film gifted moviegoers with countless gems that became instant pop culture touchstones. The comedy would go on to become the studio’s highest-earning film that year, and Murphy would round out the decade as Hollywood’s box office king. 

In the 33 years since its release, Coming to America has been passed down and grafted upon generations like the purple and gold bag that clothes your family’s favorite whisky. In fact, it’s hard to remember a time when the film wasn’t part of the zeitgeist and on everyone’s lips like a sip of Crown Royal. The story of Prince Akeem, his trusted confidant Semmi (Arsenio Hall), and his royal court continues March 5 with the release of Coming 2 America on Amazon Prime Video. Three decades in the making, it’s one of the most anticipated sequels ever. That excitement is rooted not only in seeing how the lives of these memorable characters have evolved but the cultural impact of the original, which showcased Black excellence on the big screen in a way that audiences had never seen before. 

Although he was a kid at the time of the original film’s release, Nigerian-American entertainer Rotimi fondly recalls the nonstop laughter it brought to his parents. Now starring in the sequel as Pretty Idi, son of Akeem’s rival General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), he says it was “a once in a lifetime call” to pick up the mantle and appear in the new iteration. “It’s a regal sense, a royalty sense, it’s powerful for me to be a part of this franchise,” Rotimi continues. “Especially since I’m one of the few [cast members] that are actually from Africa.” 

Coming to America helped change the perception many people had of Africa. The opening scene whisks viewers over verdant expanses of land and onto a palatial estate that signals opulence before the characters even speak. Similarly, cues of regality are echoed in the visual splendor of Crown Royal, which comes wrapped in a lustrous bag the color of royalty, trimmed in luxe gold braiding, and dons a crown emblem. Over the years, both the film and the premium whisky have become embedded icons that enjoy an ubiquity in urban communities and evoke familial warmth, while communicating class and nobility.

“I really think the original film was the first time Americans got to see Black wealth, and with this, you get to see Black royalty and you got to see Black luxury,” explains Dimplez, the marketing savant behind culture-shifting artists like H.E.R, YBN Nahmir, and Flo Milli. “I love that, the idea of Black luxury being the standard.”