Coming to Africa is a feature-length comedic drama that aims to shatter stereotypes and provide a refreshing point-of-view of life on the continent of Africa while entertaining a massive audience. In America, African countries are still disproportionately portrayed as primitive, and the characters that represent the people are usually one-dimensional caricatures who only serve the purpose of props for their western counterparts. Coming to Africa explores the thoughts, feelings, ideas and beliefs of people living on the African continent and shows people of the African diaspora a side of Africa that very few know exist.
In the film, Adrian is approaching 40 and has spent his entire adult life with the mindset that climbing the corporate ladder is his sole priority. He has bought into the “American Dream” hook, line and sinker, and has been extremely successful in the corporate world because of it. He shies away from talk of responsibility to the Black community as he believes that the richer Black people become, the better off they’ll be, and that’s all that matters to him. He is poised for a promotion that will make him the first African-American Vice President in the history of his company.
Adrian’s brother, Dennis aka Buck, is a barber who routinely holds community meetings in his barber shop and is fully engaged in the struggle for the liberation of Black people in America—when he’s not running the shop. His other brother Adonis is a bus driver who has saved up for over a year for the perfect 10th anniversary celebration for him and his wife: a trip to Ghana. However, on the eve of the trip, circumstances change and Adrian suddenly finds himself in the need of some serious soul searching, and what better place to do that than in Africa?
Coming to Africa Production
Memphis-based filmmaker Anwar Jamison has completed filming his most ambitious project to date, Coming to Africa. With the majority of principal shooting taking place in Accra, Ghana, the movie provides a view of an African country rarely, if ever, captured in American cinema. The film aims to shatter stereotypes and provide a refreshing point-of-view of life on the continent while entertaining a massive audience.
Khalil Kain, primarily known for his roles in the Ernest Dickerson-directed film Juice, and the Kelsey Grammar-produced show Girlfriends, plays the lead in the movie. The film also features a who's who of Ghanaian cinema including Nana Ama McBrown, David Dontoh and Paulina Oduro.
"Growing up in America, we get a very one-sided view of life in African countries," explains Jamison. "I wanted to show a completely different side that's more comparable to the day to day life of someone in an American city. There are a lot more similarities than popular images would have you believe. I wanted to highlight that, but also show the differences all while telling an entertaining story."
The plot centers around Adrian Buckner, who equates happiness with corporate success with little regard for familial or cultural ties. After an unexpected series of events, he embarks on a journey that opens his eyes and his heart to what he previously found unimaginable.
Jamison, along with only a handful of American crew members, spent 2 1/2 weeks in Accra working on the film. The rest of the crew in Accra was comprised of native Ghanaians. They returned to Memphis and wrapped the film at the end of July.
Jamison is expecting an early 2020 premiere on the festival circuit before returning to Ghana for a special African premiere in July. "The positive response from the entertainment industry in Ghana was amazing," Jamison reveals. "I expect it to be even greater when they get to see the finished product. I can't wait."