Coming 2 America (2021) – Transcript

The African monarch Akeem learns he has a long-lost son in the United States and must return to America to meet this unexpected heir and build a relationship with his son.
Coming 2 America (2021)

On the 30th anniversary of his wedding with Lisa McDowell, Prince Akeem of Zamunda is summoned before his dying father, King Jaffe Joffer. Jaffe and his shaman Baba reveal to a baffled Akeem that he has sired a son during his first visit in Queens, New York after Semmi had enticed two women into spending the night with them while Akeem was still searching for his future queen. One of them drugged Akeem, resulting in a tryst he did not remember; and since Zamundian tradition demands that only a male successor can inherit the throne, and Lisa has borne only daughters, Akeem is forced to travel back to Queens to retrieve his son or else face a violent takeover by Zamunda’s militaristic neighbor nation Nextdoria, whose dictator, General Izzi, has repeatedly tried to push Akeem into marrying his eldest daughter Meeka to his foppish son, Idi.

Following King Jaffe’s funeral and Akeem’s ascension as king, he and Semmi travel to Queens to meet his illegitimate son, Lavelle Junson, to find him a smart-mouthed ticket resaler struggling to get a real job. After an awkward reunion with his mother Mary, Akeem takes them both and Lavelle’s uncle Reem back to Zamunda, much to his family’s displeasure. When General Izzi learns of this, he drops by to introduce his daughter Bopoto to Lavelle as a last shot at laying claim to the throne of Zamunda, but in order to qualify as a royal prince, Lavelle firstly has to pass a series of traditional – and hazardous – tests. Lavelle is at first highly reluctant to place himself in danger, but then bonds with Mirembe, a royal groomer, who tells him of Akeem’s quest to find his queen and encourages him to follow his own path. Lavelle gradually develops an understanding with Akeem’s family, and using his wits and some forced courage, he passes and is made Prince of Zamunda.

However, at his accession party, Lavelle overhears a conversation between Akeem and Izzi which makes him believe that Akeem is just exploiting him, and he, Mirembe, Mary and Reem depart back for New York. Upset at losing Mary, whom she has befriended, Lisa locks Akeem out of their bedroom. After a talk-to with her father, who reminds him of late Queen Aoleon’s progressive mind, Akeem flies back to the States, leaving Semmi to stall Izzi, who intends to return in one day to either see Bopoto wedded off to Lavelle or declare war. Returning to Queens, Akeem finds that Lavelle and Mirembe are about to get married. Reminded of his own life’s story, he gives them his blessing and releases Lavelle from his royal obligations.

In the meantime, Semmi and the princesses fight off and subdue General Izzi, forcing him to try a more diplomatic approach. Upon his return home, Akeem changes the royal succession tradition by allowing Meeka to ascend to the throne upon his death, while Lavelle is made an ambassador of Zamunda in New York and General Izzi has opened Nextdoria for a peaceful political and trading relationship. The film concludes with a grand party at the royal palace, with Akeem’s friends from Queens as special guests.

* * *

♪ ♪

♪ ♪


(birds chirping)

Good morning, Mother and Father.

Good morning, Tinashe.

Good morning, Mother and Father.

Good morning, Omma.

Good morning, Mother and Father, and happy anniversary.

Yes, Meeka.

It is our anniversary.

(crowd cheering)

AKEEM: Today, we celebrate 30 years of Zamundan prosperity, 30 years of service to our great nation and 30 years of delicious fast food.

We want to welcome you all to McDowell’s Zamunda.


The McDowell’s menu is in no way influenced by the McDonald’s menu.

They’ve got Egg McMuffins.

We’ve got Egg McStuffins.

MAURICE: We are also celebrating the arrival of our new Beyond Big Mick Burger!

And it’s all part of my lovely granddaughter’s campaign to reduce our, uh… our what?

Carbon footprint.

And without using any animal by-products.

It’s just good old-fashioned grass.

So there’s no meat?

There’s no meat.

MAURICE: Beautiful, leafy taste.

So delicious.

Maybe it would taste much better with a…

(coughs) Pepsi.

Pepsi, the official soft drink of McDowell’s Zamunda.


(camera clicking)


(rhythmic drumming)



You look tired, Father.

Maybe he needs a nap.

I am the heir to the throne of Zamunda.

I shall not be shamed by my two daughters.

TINASHE: Three daughters!


(grunting fiercely)



(excited chatter)

Behold! Prince Akeem in his natural element, cowering at the mercy of the women in his life.

Semmi, perhaps you would like to spar with my daughters and teach them some combinations.

(chuckles) No doubt, you are their best teacher, Your Majesty.

It is my daughters that teach me in the languages of the modern world.

For instance, are my princely robes not on fleek?

Oh, my God, Father. To be on fleek is no more.


I rather enjoyed being on fleek.

SEMMI: Your father has sent for you.

He has an urgent matter to discuss with you.

Tell me, Semmi, this urgent matter–

does it concern my marriage to a suitor who shall one day sit on the throne of Zamunda?

I will talk to Father alone.

And how is my father today?

He has already ordered my execution three times.

Oh, then he must be feeling better. (chuckles)

Prince Akeem!

Nexdorian soldiers.

I could not stop. They are coming.

♪ ♪

(soldiers shout in unison)

Presenting the supreme leader of Nexdoria, the conqueror of countries and hearts…

(soldiers grunt in unison)

…the wrestler of lions, the tamer of elephants, the inspiration for Mufasa…

(soldiers roar)

…the most well-endowed man in Africa, General… Izzi.

Prince Akeem.

Whoa, look at you.

(Izzi chuckles)

My condolences this day for your father, the king.

Many thanks for your well wishes, General Izzi, but as you know, my father still breathes.

Barely, but for how long?

Why have you come here, General?

30 years ago, you left my sister at the altar.

Oh, here we go.

Now look at she.

(high-pitched barking)

Imani, always a pleasure.


If you had married her, our countries would be united, putting an end to decades of suffering for all our people.

AKEEM: General, throughout the years, we have tried to help Nexdoria many times.

I would like nothing more than to help your country relieve its burden of poverty.

Zamunda can only afford so much.

I did not come here for money.

I came here for blood.

But not the murder kind.

No, no, no, family blood.

Marriage blood, yes?

Has your daughter considered the proposal from my son?

Hey, Prince-o. (chuckles)

My fellow player.



I do not think that he and Meeka will ever happen.


IZZI: There is Bopoto, my daughter.

Perhaps your son can be…

Uh, ay… (scoffs)

But you don’t have one.

The shame must be unbearable, as a man, as a king, without an heir with a nut sack.

(clicking tongue, groans)

Thank you for your visit, General.

Seeing you brings to mind all of my father’s favorite curses for you.

To call you a shit stain brought him much joy.

I advise you to reconsider my offer.

It is better to be bound by blood and marriage than be divided by blood and war.


(shouts in foreign language)

(soldiers repeat shout)


(footsteps marching)

KING JAFFE JOFFER: My time has come, my son.

You must heed my words before I’m gone.

Please don’t leave us so soon, Your Highness.

Zamunda needs you.

Oh, shut up, Semmi!

You don’t have to suck up to me anymore.

I’ll be dead soon.

Why couldn’t it be you, Semmi?

BABA: Yes, Your Majesty.

His life is far too worthless.

His death would make me smile.

AKEEM: Baba.


The throne must pass to a male heir.

AKEEM: Yes, Father.

A male heir.

Once again, I apologize to you for all of the shame and disappointment that my offspring’s genetic makeup has caused you.

My son, it appears your shortcomings in masculinity have turned out to be unfounded.

BABA: I seen it in a vision.

You gots a son.

It is true.

You have a son, Akeem.

A bastard son.

That is impossible.

The only woman I have ever lain with is Lisa.

Father, I did not sow my royal oats.



Tell Akeem the truth at once.

Remember in Queens, night after night, you were looking for the perfect woman?


Well, I too was– how can I say this?

I was looking for the perfect vagina.

Or any vagina.

We scoured the far reaches of that loathsome city, searching rather unsuccessfully for the woman of your dreams.

(rapping): ♪ My name is Peaches, and I’m the best ♪

♪ All the DJs want to feel my breast. ♪

(deep voice): I’ve been watching you all evening, and I want to tear you apart.

And your friend, too.

I am going to mingle.

SEMMI: I had had enough.

And I realized, if I was ever going to sow my oats on American soil, I was going to need to find someone to take care of you.

But don’t worry, I never broke our oath of keeping our identity a secret.

A prince?

Yes, a prince.

But he cannot know that you know who he is.

We are undercover Africans.

(women laughing)

Africans undercover. Oh, that’s good, baby.

You ain’t got to lie like that to get some of this ass.

But you know what? I’ll bump uglies with your homeboy.

Just let me go throw up real quick, and, uh… and then we can, you know, get it crackin’.

♪ Let your soul glow… ♪

SEMMI: I may not have been thinking straight.

In my defense, it had been weeks since the last time I was tended to by the royal bathers.

But at the time, it seemed like a good plan.

(woman laughing in other room)


I hope you like, uh, pumpkin pie.

‘Cause you gonna get a whole slice.

(record scratches, music stops)

That is not what happened, Father.

I remember meeting this morally bereft woman, but there was no inappropriate mating.

She offered me some of her ceremonial herbs.


(singsongy, echoing): Princey.

AKEEM: And then, if memory serves, a wild boar burst into the room.

It came and jumped into my lap.

And then it began to ram me.

And ram me and ram me, ramming and ramming!

(moans, laughs)

And a foul…


You fool, what have you done to me?!

Go on, son.

(Semmi choking)

Just kill him.

Kill him!

So I actually have a son?

A bastard son.


(hawks, spits)

Why was his existence hidden from me all these years?

I was hoping you would put a stem on an apple of your own.

The royal artist made a sketch of my vision.

This is your bastard.

Hear me, Prince Akeem.

General Izzi, he will use the passing of our great king as a sign to attack the weak one.

The weak one?

Am I the weak one?

I spoiled you, my son.

You are not strong or ruthless as I am.

You will be assassinated.

Within a week.

Month, tops.

Prince Akeem, follow the thunderbird.

It will take you to your boy.

Follow the thunderbird?

This is madness.

If my family were to ever find out about this…

You will be safe.

Our people will be safe.

It is the only way. You must.

(labored breathing)

Easy, my father.

The end is near.

My funeral… should be spectacular.


Yeah, it will, Papa.

Let’s have it now while I’m alive.

It shall be glorious.

♪ ♪

MORGAN FREEMAN: In the beginning, the universe began.

Stars, planets, all the visible objects in the universe came to be with a single purpose: to prepare the way for the grandest creation of all, the birth of Jaffe Joffer.

(crowd cheering)

FREEMAN: But today, we gather for a moment or two to give much respect due to the king who made a difference in our world.

Zamundans, I give you…

En Vogue.


(crowd gasps, cheers)

♪ Yeah, ooh ♪

♪ What a king ♪

♪ What a king, what a king ♪

♪ What a mighty good king ♪

♪ I’m-a say it again now ♪

♪ What a king, what a king, what a king ♪

♪ What a mighty good king ♪

♪ He’s a mighty, mighty good king… ♪

And now… Salt-N-Pepa!


♪ My king is smooth like Barack, but his voice got bass ♪

♪ A Michael B. body with a Denzel face ♪

♪ Boss moves like Hov, face on his own money ♪

♪ He’s good in every hood, and he’s got his own country ♪

♪ He lookin’ like a meal every time I see him ♪

♪ A lover and a leader, other kings couldn’t be him ♪

♪ He dresses like a dapper don, but even in jeans ♪

♪ He’s a godsent original, the king of my dreams ♪

♪ Yeah, ooh ♪

♪ What a king ♪

♪ What a king, what a king, what a king ♪

♪ What a mighty good king ♪

♪ So good, so good, so good ♪

♪ What a king, what a king, what a king ♪

♪ What a mighty good king. ♪

(song ends)


(rhythmic drumbeat playing)

(drumbeat ends)

MAN: Zamunda!


(somber music playing)

With the passing of the great king, the world changed forever.

When he died, no one ever smiled again.

Vacations were canceled.

Holidays ignored.

GLADYS KNIGHT: ♪ He’s leaving… ♪

People didn’t even have sex anymore.

(crowd gasping)


Our great king had gone away forever.

Gladys Knight.

♪ He’s leaving ♪

♪ Leaving ♪

♪ On that midnight train ♪

♪ From Zamunda ♪

♪ Leaving on the midnight train ♪

♪ Yes, he is ♪


Yes, my father.

♪ Said he’s going up ♪

♪ Up, up, up, up ♪

♪ Going up to that great ♪

Remember what I told you.

♪ Sahara in the sky… ♪

I’m going to die now.

♪ Oh, yes, he is… ♪

Come now, Father. Everything is going to be…

♪ Oh, please don’t leave us ♪

♪ Take us instead ♪

♪ Take us on that midnight train ♪


♪ From Zamunda ♪

♪ Take us on the midnight train ♪

♪ From Zamunda ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ ‘Cause this nation’s only hope ♪

♪ Next ruler of this land ♪

♪ Is a son who can’t have a son ♪

♪ Of his own ♪

♪ What’s even the point? ♪

♪ There’s not even a point ♪

♪ Sad, sad, sad. ♪

(bell tolling)

♪ ♪

AKEEM: I just lost the greatest man in my life.

Soon, Nexdorian warriors will assassinate me.

And I have a child on the other side of the world.

Take heart in your grief.

You are king now.

Be as your father.

Bark orders at me.

Throw things at me. It will make you happy.

Prepare the royal jet.

We are going back to America.

Oh, hell no, Your Majesty!

Now, I will find this bastard of Queens,and I will look into his eyes, and if I see the strength of our ancestors, I shall know he is of my blood.

Then he must come back to Zamunda and take the princely test.

Heir to the throne of Zamunda, born in America… land of opportunity.

What kind of man do you think he is?

This bastard.

If he has Joffer blood running through his veins, I’m sure he’s destined for greatness.

(phones ringing)

(quiet chatter)

You think you look respectable?

I just want to look employable.

Ain’t nobody gonna hire you over all these Mitt-Romney-looking-ass shmiggas.

LAVELLE: Why not? I got sales experience.

Which reminds me– St. John’s is at the Garden.

Now, I want you to take these tickets up there.

Sell ’em at full freight until tip-off.

I can’t do this shit no more, man. I really can’t.

This hand-to-mouth shit, it’s got to stop, all right?

I got to get solid.

I’m in my 30s now.

Since when?


(quietly): Today.

Today is my birthday.

And you forgot.

Listen to me, young Jedi, okay?

What you need to do is learn to relax.

I’m your uncle.

You stay on the ground with me. You dig it, son?

Uh, L. Junson.

Don’t use white voice.


I do know smartphones.

I know technology, all right?

I’m well-versed in emerging trends.

And I’ll tell you this, too.

If you hire me, I won’t let you down.

That’s really inspiring.

So, uh, just give me a chance, Mr. Duke.

Oh, my God, please. My father is Mr. Duke.

Uh, and my, uh, grandfather and great-uncle, who founded Duke & Duke.

Uh, please just call me Calvin.

All right.

I’m calling you Calvin.

I noticed here, under education, that–

did it say that you-you didn’t graduate college?

Well, yeah, see, I was three credits short from getting my, uh, business degree, but then my mom got laid off, and, uh, you know, I had to, uh, drop out to help with the rent.

Is she addicted to drugs or…


She have gambling issues or…

No, man.

Pops, uh, in the picture or…

My dad was not in the picture.


You know, I went to boarding school, so there were months where I didn’t see my parents, except for breaks, and, uh, it can be hard.

I mean, I’ve read a lot of studies that say that not having a dominant male figure at home, it’s so detrimental to a child.

Do they say that?

Yeah, they say that.



Bill Nye did a…

The Science Guy.

Your guy, uh, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

(exhales sharply)

Do you think that not having that kind of male role model could put you at a disadvantage?

No more of a disadvantage than having a father who handed you your position.


I-I was not handed anything.

So you’re saying Daddy never donated a building to get you into an Ivy League school?

No. Yeah.

Well, there was a small off-campus library.

And Daddy never had to sneak you into an overpriced rehab facility to cover up a cocaine addiction, Calvin?

It was oxy, and my mom took me.


Kiss my ass, Calvin.

Hey, you know something?

You’ve been judging me since I walked in here.

Which sucks because I am so motivated.

You know what, I-I just can’t wait for them to find blackface photos of you from the office party.

I was Will Smith’s Aladdin, okay?

Peace, Calvin.

There was blueface over the black…

♪ Say, can you see ♪

♪ I’m coming to America ♪

♪ Coming to America ♪

♪ Oh ♪

♪ Say, can you see ♪

♪ I’m coming to America ♪

♪ America ♪

♪ Hey ♪

(lively chatter)

Much has changed in Queens.

♪ Oh, can you see ♪

♪ I’m… ♪

Yes, but some things have not.

♪ America. ♪

CLARENCE: Floyd “Money” Mayweather ain’t shit!

He beat that Filipino boy ass.

“Pack-a-quando,” “Pack-a-mondo.”

Wh-Whatever his name is, he beat that boy ass, Clarence.

And he beat that meshuggener Conor McGregor, the Irishman.

Yeah, ’cause he had to do that for the blacks.

In this political climate, Black man can’t be taking no ass-whipping from no white man.

Would’ve caused a riot.

I was ready to riot anyway.

I wanted to get me one of them flat-screen TVs.


(entry bell jingles)

Well, I’ll be damned! Look who done come up in here.

Hey, it’s Kunta Kinte and Ebola.

Famine and Blood Diamond.

Nelson Mandela and Winnie.

(Morris laughing)

Those hungry babies with the flies on their face.

Hey. Oh, oh, oh, oh.

SAUL: Whoa, whoa.

CLARENCE: That’s too much, man. You stepped over the line, now.

We don’t be talking that kind of shit about the hungry babies.

You gonna have to get out my chair talking that kind of shit.

Politically incorrect.

Somebody need to whip your ass.

Mm-hmm. Get up and whip him, Sweets.

Hey, don’t be putting the money in my hand all rough.

Take your ass out of here. You buy you a Flowbee and cut your own damn hair from now on.

Right now I could rip a new ass in that kid.

It is so good to see you.

Your neighborhood seems to be thriving.

Oh, that’s that gentrification.

You know, when the colored man here, this neighborhood didn’t have shit.

When the white man move in, they got their coffeehouses and their dog parks, and my brownstone on Foch Boulevard is worth $10 million.

Your brownstone ain’t worth no ten million.

My brownstone is, too, worth $10 million!

(Morris laughs)

And I’m gonna sell it and get me a Tesla.

America has certainly changed since our last visit.

Your Black president finally united this great country.

Yeah, but it’s all gone to hell now.

We all gonna die. Just don’t know how.

SAUL: It’s gonna be the Nazis.

Nazis are back, but now they dress like the Best Buy Geek Squad and they want to kill people.

Anybody could be a Nazi. You ever notice that, Prince?

Akeem now is an African king.

CLARENCE: Well, I’ll be damned.

You got any kids? I got kids.

In fact, I got one granddaughter used to be my grandson.

They can turn your penis into a vagina now.

It’s science.

MORRIS: I bet they could fix them long, sloppy titties y’all got in Africa.

You can’t even squeeze a tit nowadays.

It’ll get you fired.

I’m so sorry you can no longer indiscriminately touch a woman’s body at your every whim.

Oh, it’s okay. I got it in when I was young.


(wheezing laugh)

So what you doing back here, Idiot Amin?

I am actually here with a purpose.

I have just discovered that I may have a bastard son here in this land, conceived during my last visit.

The long arm of the family court bring ’em back every time.

How much child support she getting from you?

The king pays no child support.

No child support for 30 years, and you came back?

You’s a dummy!


My son has been without a father for far too long.

I’ve seen him.

That’s the kid that’s always out in front of the Garden.

He scalp tickets down at Madison Square Garden.

He probably over there right now working the St. John’s game.

Their mascot is a big turkey.

Oh, hell no, it ain’t. It’s a thunderbird.

♪ ♪

BOTH: “Follow the thunderbird.”

LAVELLE: Hey! Come on, y’all!

I got five! Got five!

Got five tickets to the Middle Tennessee game tonight!

Come on, y’all! You want it, I got it!

Hey, I got five… Hey, I got five tickets to the Middle Tennessee State game, man.


Come on, yo.

What better way to spend your night than paying to watch unpaid student athletes?

Semmi, look.

It is my potential bastard son.


You are king of Zamunda.

Your noble visage is known around the world.

You cannot stroll down the street like we did years ago.

Come on, Middle Tennessee State.

Come on, y’all.

They got a seven-foot-five center.

Catch him before his knees pop.


You want some tickets, man?

No, thank you.

I am King Akeem Joffer, king of Zamunda.

And I believe that you…

What is your name?

It’s Lavelle.

Lavelle Junson.

…Lavelle Junson, are the heir to the throne of Zamunda.

My firstborn child and my only son.

Yes, my son.

MARY: Are you putting the candles on the cake?

31 candles. I need 31 candles on that cake.

Oh, well, there’s only ten in the pack, so…

What do you mean, only ten? Why is there only ten?

‘Cause I did not have enough change left over to get another pack of candles.

It’s your nephew’s birthday.

Look, just please try to make 31 candles.

Cut the candles in half.

That’s just 20. It’s…

(laughter, indistinct chatter)

Cuzzo! Happy birthday!

ALL: Happy birthday!


Happy birthday, cuz!

Hey, baby, happy birthday!

♪ ♪

Oh, my God.

My African.

I told you he was gonna come back!

Boy, why you ain’t tell me you was bringing company?

I would’ve cleaned up.

LAVELLE: Uh-huh.

So you know this man?

I definitely know this man.

I know this man all the way live.

You know, I know this man all up in the crevice.


AKEEM: Yes, it’s, uh, very good to see you again…



Like the Virgin.

Oh. Okay, baby. All right.

Virgin? Not our Mary.

She ain’t no virgin.

You know that.

MARY: You know what? That’s right.

Y’all was doing that little weak pickup game.

I think he was supposed to be, like, the prince or something.

He is not a prince anymore.

He is our king.

Oh, he’s a king now.

A king?

Oh, okay, King. (chuckles)

So, you still got that smooth… scepter? (chuckles)


No. Nobody want to hear that on my birthday.


Mary. Mary.

LAVELLE: Yo, Mom, for real, is this dude my father?

Father? Boy…


Oh, boy, yeah, that might… he might be.

He does… Y’all know I was a ho, though, right?

Y’all know I was out in these streets?

You was a ho.

MARY: I wasn’t selling it.

I should’ve been selling it.

In one of them Fashion Nova dresses.

‘Cause I was giving it away, for sure.

AKEEM: Mary.

I’ve come back for my son.

To have him take his rightful place on the throne.

REEM: Ain’t nothing happening.

Zamunda, Wakanda, Connecticut– I don’t know where you from.


But I’ve been a force in this boy’s life since he was born.


It is the boy’s birthright.

I’m only giving him an opportunity to have a better life.

No. Hey, man, for real, look.

I don’t know who you think you are, but I’m-a tell you who I am, man.

I’m Lavelle Junson, a’ight?

And I don’t need no handout.

Hmm? Wait a minute.


SEMMI: My mistake.


Oh, my God.

LIVIA: Do the right thing. Go ahead, boy.

(all murmuring quietly)

MARY: Ooh.

Are those coins? Are those gold bars?

There’s cash.

Hey, yo, uh, you know, I’m thinking, who am I to say no to becoming a prince?

Ma, pack your bags, man. We out.

Amen! Okay, so do I get my own hut with my private shaman?

We are only offering to take Lavelle back to Zamunda.

LAVELLE: Uh-uh. Ain’t happening like that, man.

I’m not hopping on some plane, flying across the world without my mother.

All right? She coming.

So be it.

LAVELLE: So be it.

So be it. (laughs)

And so it is. A’ight.

I’m-a go pack. (laughs)

Okay, baby. (squeals)

Hey, Mary, you just gonna leave?

Y’all know my PlayStation ain’t going nowhere.

I mean, what about all your stuff?

It all sucks! Y’all can have it.

Inform General Izzi that I have retrieved my son from America.

Yes, Your Majesty.

Hey, we packed.

(door closes)


Yes, the limousine is waiting for you right downstairs.

Limo? We got a limo, man.

What’s that? Limo!

MARY: I ain’t been in a limo since ’00.

LAVELLE: Hey. What’s up?

MARY: What’s up, fellas?

How y’all doing? Y’all so cute.

Do you think Lisa will be understanding?

What is not to understand?

You lied to me!

I did not exactly lie to you.

This reeks of Semmi.

Ah, well, I don’t want to shift blame, but, yeah, it… yes, you’re right when you assume that Semmi had something to do with this.

I should’ve known about this.

I did not know what to do.

I was only trying to do what is right.

For our family or for Zamunda?


You have an illegitimate son.

You wouldn’t be the first king to have one.

That is true.

Besides, we hadn’t even met yet.

Exactly. We hadn’t met yet. It’s not like I cheated on you.

This happened before we even met.

And it’s not like you’re the first man I’ve ever been with.

Right, I… (stammers) Whoa, whoa, whoa.

What did you just say about the other men?

So I guess, uh, you didn’t really do anything wrong, did you?

It was a totally honest mistake that can happen to anyone whose best friend introduced him to a strange woman who drugged him and had sex with him.

But what did you say– the other men that you were with, the…

From here on out,

I’m gonna need you to be honest with me.

No more surprises.

I promise.

No more surprises, my sweet.

Never again shall there be another surprise.

(laughing): Ooh, ooh! What?!

Look at this foyer! (laughing)

MARY: I got to get some shots for the Gram.

LAVELLE: Goddamn!


LAVELLE: Oh, my goodness!

MARY: Hashtag “family”!

That’s the last surprise.

Hey! What’s up, y’all?


What’s up, fam?

(Lavelle laughs)

Look, I’m gonna hug you ’cause I’m a hugger.

Hey, Queen!

I’m sorry I slept with your man.

It’s okay. It’s okay.

What is going on here?

AKEEM: Oh, children.

Children, I would love for you to meet your brother.

Uh, Lavelle, uh, Princess Tinashe.

Tinashe, this is your bastard brother from America.

And, Princess Omma, this is your bastard brother from America.

Now, this is my eldest daughter, Princess Meeka.

Meeka, this is your bast…

Bastard brother. They know.

I think they get the idea. So, how you doing?

MARY: And my name is Mary. How you doing?

Just call me your second mom.

But you really don’t have to, girls.

I mean, but you should, though, ’cause I kind of am.

AKEEM: Well, look at us.

Just one big, happy

Zamundan-American aristocratic blended family.

Ah, just like the Kardashians! (laughs)

♪ ♪

(urgent chatter)

And that is the story of the bunny and the bear.

(chuckles) Good class today, children.

Okay, go play now.

Play with your grenades and your Kalashnikov.

Sifo, don’t mess with the sarin.

Okay? It is dangerous.

General Izzi, we have just been informed King Akeem has returned from America with a son.

A son?

A son.

MARY: I am so hungry, I could eat the ass out of a zebra.

So, Lavelle, what did you do in Queens before you found out you were a prince?

Oh, I wasn’t doing that much, you know what I mean?

Just sort of, like, in between opportunities.

You know?

MARY: Let me tell you something, baby.


You a prince now. Okay?

And one day, all this is gonna be yours.

This long-ass table, all this food, this whole damn kingdom.

I always thought that Meeka was going to be queen.

OMMA: A woman isn’t allowed to rule Zamunda.

It’s the law.

So it’s going to be this guy?

I have lost my appetite.



So, um, is anybody gonna tell me why these mashed potatoes is black?

It’s caviar.

It’s cava-what?

Caviar, Mom.

You know, our cousin named that.

♪ ♪

You sure you’re in the right room?

Mm, Lisa, please. I’m getting it from everywhere.

Meeka is so upset.

Did it ever occur to you that maybe Meeka might have wanted to be your heir?

She’s practically trained for it her whole life.

This boy would not have been my first choice, but what can I do?

He is my firstborn, my only son, and you know the law.

That is not you talking.

That is your father.

Good night.

Uh, Lisa, I was, uh, wondering, uh, I just recently returned from a trip that was most tiresome, and I thought maybe, perhaps, if you were in the mood…

Yeah, perhaps it was poor timing on my behalf to even suggest such a thing.

Good night, my sweet.

Uh, s-sweet dreams, my sweet.

This is bullshit.

(birds chirping)



(“We Got the Moves” by Beau Young Prince playing)


Good morning.

♪ We got the moves ♪


♪ Hey ♪

♪ We got the moves… ♪

Good morning, Zamunda…!

(Lavelle continues yelling in distance)

♪ We got the moves… ♪



ALL: Good morning, my prince.

“My prince.” I like that.

Would you like us to bathe you?

Bathe me?


♪ Measuring my shoe size, you gonna need a ruler ♪

♪ Got the crowd gettin’ hype all night, never lose, bruh ♪

♪ We got the moves, hey ♪

All three of you?

♪ We got the moves ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ We cannot lose… ♪


Huh. (chuckles)

Okay. All right, well…

I’ll be… I’ll be right back.



Oh, hey. Hey, hey, look, um… I’m freaking out right now because these three girls, they in my room right now, and they just offered to bathe me.

Okay, baby, first of all, calm down.

Okay? You know we in another country.

And you know they have different traditions and customs, the way that they do stuff.

You need to roll with it. This is a princely thing.

They bathe you, okay?


So be a prince.

“Be a prince.”

Now, you go enjoy that bath.

All right.

All right, Ma. Thank you.

Go get washed.

♪ We got the moves ♪

♪ Hey ♪

♪ We got the moves… ♪

The royal privates are clean, ma’am.


Just one more time, just-just to make sure.

♪ Hey ♪

♪ We got the moves ♪

♪ Yeah. ♪


Good morning, Your Royal Highness.

My name is Mirembe.

I will be your royal groomer.

Please allow me the honor of trimming your most precious hairs.


The ones atop your head, sir.

Precious head of hair. Okay. All right.


Surely, the royal bathers have cleansed you thoroughly, judging by the smile on your face.

(Mirembe clears throat)

Now, please sit back and relax.


♪ ♪

Oh! (laughing)

Yo! Man, look at you.


You look beautiful.

Thank you.

And you look so fre…

Right? Right?


What’s this? What’s this?

Oh, yeah, I got a royal barber, and she hooked me up.

(clears throat)

We got to go.

Right. Got that thing.

(quiet, indistinct chatter)

♪ ♪

Presenting Lavelle Junson of Queens!

And my moms.

And his moms.

Oh, hey, baby’s daddy king. (chuckles)

LAVELLE: Step-mama queen, what up?

Mother, don’t you have a dress like that?

MARY: Thank you for the borrow.

The royal tailors had to add some extra material to make it fit.

(chuckles) You got a dope closet, baby.

And who told you you could go through my closet?

Well, well, I was just thinking, since we’re related, uh, maybe that we could share a couple of…

Why your mama so uppity?

What is “uppity”?

I am not uppity.

Uppity bitch say what?


(Mary and Lavelle laughing)

You said it.

(laughing continues)

We do that in Queens.

I cannot stress how important it is that you’re here right now at this moment.

For educational purposes.

At any moment, a world leader can come bursting through the door with some pressing, uh, time-sensitive propositions.

(playing rhythmic beat)

(chanting in foreign language)

General Izzi, what a totally unexpected surprise.

King Akeem, I have come to give you congratulations for locating one of your lost sperm.

I too wonder about my own stray bullets.

Thank you for your kind words.

Ah, but I’ve not come with just words.

I came with a gift for your new prince.

With your permission, King Akeem.

My permission is granted.

(rhythmic drumbeat playing)

(drumbeat stops)

IZZI: I would like to present to you my daughter, Bopoto!

♪ Hey-hey, hey-hey ♪

♪ Hey-hey. ♪

♪ Wa… hoo ♪

(lively, rhythmic music playing)

♪ How can I put this in a way ♪

♪ So as not to offend or unnerve… ♪

Oh, that’s my song!

That’s her song.

That’s Prince!

(Mary hollering)

LAVELLE: That’s her song.

♪ That you ain’t been gettin’ served ♪

♪ They say that you ain’t you-know-what ♪

♪ In, baby, who knows how long ♪

♪ It’s hard for me to say what’s right ♪

♪ When all she wants to do is wrong ♪

♪ Get off ♪

♪ 23 positions in a one-night stand ♪

♪ Get off ♪

♪ I’ll only call you ♪

♪ After you say I can ♪

♪ Get off ♪

♪ Let a woman be a woman and a man be a man ♪

♪ Get off ♪

♪ If you want me, baby, here I am ♪

♪ Here I am ♪


♪ ♪

Look here, boy. Look here.

Pay attention to me. You know this song.

You go put some purple on that ho!

Do it for our country.

(feedback squeals)

♪ One, two, three, nah, little cutie ♪

♪ I ain’t drinkin’ ♪

♪ Get off ♪

♪ Scope this, I was just thinkin’ ♪

♪ You plus me, what a ride ♪

♪ If you was thinkin’ the same, we can continue outside ♪

♪ Lay your pretty body against a parking meter ♪

♪ Strip your dress down like I was stripping a Peter ♪

♪ Paul’s Almond Joy ♪

♪ Let me show you, baby, I’m a talented boy. ♪

(music stops)

What’s up?

King Akeem, shall we join our families in marriage under one flag by uniting your bastard with my Bopoto?

General… as you know, I have very, very strong opinions when it comes to arranged marriages.

True love is the bedrock of my kingdom.

But if this is something that Lavelle desires, who am I to stand in his way?

Wait, what?


Lavelle, is this what you want?

Yeah. I’m ’bout it.

Then it is settled!

Then let us proceed!

A semiautomatic shotgun wedding it will be!

(Izzi exclaims)


(Baba yells)

Remember your father’s final words.

The boy must pass the princely test.

To forget the princely test would be to spit in the faces of the great Joffers who have come before you.

Whose auntie is this?

I give you a week.

(drums play brief, dramatic beat)

I wouldn’t want to go back to plotting your death.



What’s “zoot”?

Y’all leaving? Does that mean “leave”?


I’ll see you in one week, my prince.

LAVELLE: A’ight.

Father, can we talk about this?

There is nothing to talk about.

MEEKA: Nexdoria is our greatest threat.

To broker a peace hinging on the testosterone-clouded whims of a son you barely even know is foolish.

I said there is nothing to talk about.

(dramatic news theme plays)

JAFFE JOFFER (over TV): This is ZNN.

Good evening, my neighbors.

I’m Totatsi Bibinyana.

In a most promising twist, the Zamunda News Network has confirmed that King Akeem has a son.

While it is too early to determine whether the boy possesses any strength, intelligence or capability whatsoever, what we do know is that he is a man.

And as far as Zamundan royalty is concerned, that’s good enough.

♪ ♪

The princely test has three parts.

Okay. Uh-huh.

Culture, critical thinking and, more importantly, courage.

AKEEM: Where do we begin?

Teach the young prince how to walk like royalty.

That is what we will do.

We will teach you how to walk like a prince.

Yo, what’s wrong with the way I walk now?

You walk like an American pimp.

You dress like a slave from the future.

Old Jar Jar Binks lookin’ ass.

Here, in this hall, you will come face-to-face with your Zamundan heritage.

Let us begin.

Jompu Joffer.


Jakoof Joffer.


Mighty Jokeim Joffer, the most handsome of all the Joffers.

Clench your backside.

Put your shoulders back.


Put your chin up.


Suck in your stomach and walk thusly.

Now? Walk? Okay.

This is a regal gait.


Stop! Don’t…

Tuck in your backside.

And who is this?

Uh, that’s Jappa Joffer.


Jabba the Hutt Joffer.


Jumpin’ Jack Flash Joffer.

(laughs): No.

Gerald Levert Joffer?

(laughing): No.

Jimmie “JJ” Walker Joffer?


Jabberwocky Joffer.


LAVELLE: James Brown Joffer.

(imitates James Brown): Hey!

♪ ♪

LAVELLE: All right, y’all, what am I doing out here?

I’m hungry. I’m… I-I’m late for my bath. What am I looking for?



Oh! That’s a damn lion, bruh!

Only when you can retrieve the whiskers from a resting lion will you be ready to become prince.


This is a joke.

(stammering): This is a joke, ’cause I know your soft ass ain’t never do nothing like that.

Oh, yes, I did.

On my very first attempt.


Yes. First attempt. Very brave.

AKEEM: You will need the courage of all your ancestors…

A machete? A rocket launcher? What you got?

…and the cunningness of your Western ways.

And these.

(lion growling)

Thank you.

(growling softly)

Ain’t this a bitch.

(thunder crashes)

LAVELLE: I just don’t belong here.

You are the son of the king of Zamunda.

You come from a long line of Joffers, and… I come from a long line of broke-ass nobodies.

What the hell I was thinking that I could have this?

Or any of it?

Hey, for real, just… cut this off, all right?

Just cut it off.

(Mirembe sighs)

You want to get rid of the royal princely braid?

Well, this is fair.

To be honest, it wasn’t a great look on you.

Just one of the many backward Zamundan traditions.

Hell yeah.

How long have you felt that way? You know how itchy this is?

It’s a rat tail.


(laughs) And what’s up with y’all and lion whiskers?

Like, be for real– what’s up with that?

(Mirembe laughing)

Hey, yo, I-I can’t do this right now, man.

Yo, look where I’m at.

I’m not supposed to be here.

You know, my whole life, I had dreams that my pops would show up and take me and my mom away to a whole new life.

And come to find out, he’s a king.

To a whole damn country.

And the only way to meet his expectations is to walk with a stick up my ass or get myself killed.

This-this ain’t my way, Mirembe.

And I-I-I can’t… I can’t be what he wants me to be.

Then perhaps be not as King Akeem but as Prince Akeem.

Ain’t that the same brother?

You haven’t heard the story.

Everyone in Zamunda knows the legend of Prince Akeem in the land of Queens.

(thunder crashes)

Prince Akeem was a dutiful prince and loyal son of Zamunda.

AKEEM: Hello, Babar.

MIREMBE: But he believed that a man must walk his own path and follow his heart.

I intend to find my bride.

What is wrong with the one you have now?

Bark like a dog.


AKEEM: I want a woman that’s going to arouse my intellect as well as my loins.

MIREMBE: He flew across the sea to find his true love.

Now there, in the barbaric land of Queens did Prince Akeem battle bug-eyed burglars, foul-mouthed barbers and sexist men of the cloth to win the heart of his true love, Lisa McDowell of Queens.

♪ To be loved, to be loved ♪

♪ Oh, what a feeling ♪

♪ To be loved… ♪

MIREMBE: The wedding was grand and beautiful and magical.

A new dawn had arised in Zamunda, a new sense of hope and change.

King Akeem… may have forgotten his story, but the people of Zamunda have not.

(thunder crashes)

Walk your own path.

Be not the prince of Zamunda.

Be the prince from Queens.

(“Smash the Crowd” by Public Enemy, Ice-T and PMD playing)

Lavelle Junson of Queens.

♪ Come on ♪

♪ Haters gonna hate ♪

♪ Fakers gonna fake, breakers gonna break ♪

♪ Neophytes gonna make mistakes ♪

♪ Sleepers gotta wake, I’m-a say it again ♪

♪ I’m-a say it loud, give me a group, not one man ♪

♪ To smash the crowd, we… ♪

(music stops)

LAVELLE: If it pleases Your Majesty, I present to you Kareem Junson, aka Uncle Reem, my royal consigliere.

That’s Italian for “mack daddy mentor.”

You need no other teacher than your king and your father.

No, no, no, no. See, you watch your bottom lip, money grip, ’cause you understand, while y’all was out here riding elephants and chasing Tarzan, I was schooling this boy on the streets of Queens.

All right, well, that’s…

No, ’cause he don’t know me.

You do not know me.

No, you don’t know me.

You do not know me.

You don’t know me.

I will cut you.

Enough of this.

Uncle Reem of Queens… you’re welcome in my kingdom.

LAVELLE: Come on.

REEM: Benson, y’all got some crab cakes, man?

I need some protein.

Who is Benson?

Benson is you.

LAVELLE: Hold up. Hold up.

Let me get my Spotify on deck real quick.

(“I’m a King” by Bobby Sessions and Megan Thee Stallion playing)

Let’s rock.

You ain’t said nothing but a thing.

See his feet?


See where his hand at?


See how he moving?

Yes. There’s a fluidity to it.

Yeah, it’s like Bruce Lee said, “Be like water.”

LAVELLE: That’s Hebbe Joffer.

Legend has it he could speak to animals, and people thought he was crazy until he made a giraffe do the Electric Slide.

TOTATSI (over TV): It appears a royal wedding may soon be upon us.

For more on this, we are joined by Semmi.

Good to see you, Totatsi.

According to our ZNN source inside the palace, we are hearing– and I quote–

“The boy been balling on this princely-ass test ever since his handsome and mad smart uncle showed up.”

That is absurd, Totatsi. Who is your source?

What the deal? What the deal?

Palace life for me.

SEMMI: Who do you think you are, Reem, going behind the king’s back?

You keep talking slick…


…and when my man is running this place, you gonna go from royal ass kisser to royal ass wiper.

No, no.

I will do no such thing.

Please, g-gent…

REEM: Yeah, well, I eat a lot of fried food, so don’t come at me with anything less than two-ply.


♪ I’m a queen, I’m a queen, I’m a queen, I’m a queen ♪

♪ Ain’t nothing move if they ain’t got me ♪

♪ I’m a queen, I’m a queen, I’m a queen… ♪



♪ Run my bathwater, run the kingdom, run it smarter… ♪

Oh, that’s right. Ooh!

I believe I have it now.

Don’t hurt nobody.

LAVELLE: Yeah, you got something.

Now let me hear you say, “Hey, ho.”

I don’t know…

Hey, ho.


MARY: That’s right.

That’s how we do it in Queens, though.

Hey, ho.

LAVELLE: Oh, no, no, no, no.

No, don’t do that. That’s his mother.

Oh, don’t say it to…

No, not to his mother.

You obese American, you.

No. (stammers)

Yeah, for 25 cents a day, I could sponsor-feed your scrawny ass.

Go to hell, you Western weasel!

Yo, well, why don’t you go?

Make me.

You know something? Then I will.

You cholesterol dumpster fire, you.

(gasping, choking)

I– o-okay, okay.

Totatsi! Call the guards!


Let us, let us go for a short break.


That’s Forest Whitaker.

I’m joking. That’s not…

That one is Tunde Joffer.

Uh, he’s the reason why the Zamundans migrated from the north to the east.

TINASHE: He’s doing pretty good.

Yeah? (grunts excitedly)

♪ I’m a queen, I’m a queen, I’m a queen, I’m a queen ♪

♪ Ain’t nothing move if they ain’t got me, ay ♪

♪ I’m a queen, I’m a queen, I’m a queen. ♪

AKEEM: There is but one test that remains: retrieving the whiskers from a lion.

(Lavelle sighs)

My one question is: How will you conquer your fear?

I’m not.

It’s a damn lion.

Well, I found it is helpful to think of them as just being big house cats.



Just big house cats?

Really? When’d you figure that out?

Was that on your tenth or 11th try?

I know not what you speak of.

I was successful my first time, just like my father.

Jaffe Joffer.

And his father before him.

Jappa Joffer.

Very good. Very good!


(both laughing)

(elephant trumpeting)

AKEEM: Oh, watch.

Oh, shit!

Oh, do not be alarmed.

This Babar, he is my friend.

I have known him since he was a small elephant.

Let him pass. Move.

Let him pass.

All right. (muttering)

Come through, Babar, my friend.

Babar, the magnificent one.

I have known him since he was a little elephant, and now he is a father, as well.


The great one!

(Babar trumpeting)

I must admit, your manner and your style is foreign to my kingdom, but it is impressive.

Yeah? Damn, I’m just trying to be like you.

You know what I mean?

You know, Mirembe, my royal barber, told me the story that your pops wanted you to marry a Nexdorian girl, so you bounced to Queens to find a wife on your own terms.

I wanted to find more than a wife.

To find someone that I connected with on every level.

Someone who knew where I was coming from even though we came from entirely two different places.

And one might say I was looking for myself, as well.

Get some rest, my son.

Thanks, Pops.

♪ ♪


He looks hungry.

You can see it in how he walks low to the ground.

Look, man, you haven’t liked me since I got here, and I get that, but ain’t my fault your dad knocked up my mom and dragged my ass back to Africa.

Well, no one is asking you to stay.

It’s all good, little sis. All good.

I’ll be gone in a minute, ’cause I’m about to be eaten by a lion!

I hope so!

Fine! Fine!


(growling softly)

You really think I’m gonna fail, don’t you?

I have never said that… out loud.

You ain’t got to.

It’s that look.

Been getting that look my entire life.

People writing me off ’cause of the way I talk or where I’m from.

But you got no idea what I’m talking about.

‘Cause you a princess.

Princesses can be written off just as much as anyone.

I have been preparing my whole life to be standing where you are in this moment.

But you are right.

It is not fair for me to blame you for my father’s mistake.

Not that you are a mistake.

Well, you kind of are a mistake.


I get it, I get it. A’ight.



(growling softly)

Perhaps the test has nothing to do with bravery.

The tests are also a challenge of the mind.

(“Go Big” by YG playing)

♪ Go big, go big ♪

♪ Go big, go big, go big, go big ♪

♪ Go big, go big ♪

♪ How big? Real big ♪

♪ Sumo, fat crib in the background ♪

♪ Ad-lib, I’m in the front row… ♪

So, in sales, it’s called a bait and switch.

So, the customer thinks that they’re buying something at half off, so they come flocking, waving their wallets, just hungry to buy something, but by the time they get there, you sell ’em the upgrade at double the price.

Yes. It is the same as a technique we use in battle called the feigned withdrawal.

An army retreats with the sole intention of drawing the enemy out and ambushing him.

So, what, in this scenario, I’m-I’m the retreating army?

No, you are the bait to switch.

♪ Say he winning, he lied ♪

♪ Lied ♪

♪ I don’t blame him, he tried ♪

♪ Tried ♪

♪ I’m so fl-fl-fly ♪

♪ I’m fly ♪

♪ I don’t walk, I glide ♪

♪ Glide ♪

♪ Don’t need ice, we slide ♪

♪ We slide ♪

♪ Don’t need ice, we slide ♪

♪ We slide ♪

♪ I put in the time ♪

♪ Time ♪

♪ Not like apple pie, sweet ♪

♪ Go big, go big ♪

♪ Go big, go big, go big, go big ♪

♪ Go big, go big. ♪

REEM: This ain’t right.

My nephew could be eaten by a man-eating lion!

Besides, what kind of kingdom is this?

I don’t see no Lunchables or no lunch trays up here, nothing!

(lion purring softly)

(panting quietly)



(moans, passes gas)

(laughs quietly)


(imitating birdcall)

(loudly imitates birdcall)






Run! Run!

Trust me, don’t look back!

Just keep running! Keep running! Run!

Keep running!




No, no. No!




He’s trapped. I must save him.


Wait, Father.

(lion growls)


(growling quiets)

(chuckling softly)

What is this?


What is this?

What every dangerous house cat likes.

Cat food.




♪ ♪

I got ’em. Mm-hmm.


He is almost ready to become a prince.

Wait, almost?

(Lavelle stammers)

It is time for umbajuntoo.


CROWD: Umbajuntoo!

(upbeat drumbeat playing)

(drumbeat stops)

Uh, what’s-what’s, uh… umbajuntoo?

Ceremonial circumcision.


(drumbeat plays)

That mean they’re gonna sharpen your tool, nephew.

Hold him.

Hey, yo, ain’t got to restrain me. Yo…

Hey, Ma, tell ’em we already did this!

That’s okay, baby.

We love it here, right?

Let them take a little bit off the top.

These are the foreskins of your forefathers.


Joffer Joffer.


Jappa Joffer.

AKEEM: Your great-grandfather.

Jaffe Joffer.

Your grandfather.

And King Akeem.

(drumbeat plays)

(blade rings)


(rapid drumbeat playing)

(crowd clapping rhythmically)

(Baba yells)


(sobbing loudly)

(Baba giggling)

What are you… Oh, what is wrong with you?

(groaning, whimpering)

(Baba giggling)

See, a potato.


They got you, baby! They got you! (laughing)

You just completed the final princely test, the test of courage.


Need I remind you I was face-to-face with a man-eating lion?

For one to put his member in danger

is also a test of courage, yes?

You are willing to sacrifice what is most sacred.

My penis?

Your pride.


Lavelle Junson of Queens,

I hereby crown you the prince of Zamunda.

(crowd gasping, murmuring)

Okay, so you thought the best response was to let them cut it off?

I was doing whatever it took.

Like what, exactly?

Well, to prove myself.

You know, like, I-I never really got the chance to do that back home.

(Mirembe clears throat)

As you were.


I take it you are growing accustomed to a palace life.

I mean… aside from some insane rituals y’all have here, I suppose life here ain’t too bad.


MIREMBE: Well, there are certain disadvantages.


I mean, have you seen a Zamundan movie?


Total baboon dung.


So, what, like, nothing over a 30% on Rotten Papayas?



American cinema is the best.

The best? That is, like, the most blasphemous thing I’ve ever heard. (chuckles)

What do we have besides superhero shit, uh, remakes and-and sequels to old movies nobody asked for?

This is true about sequels.

If something is good…

BOTH: …why ruin it?


Although there are exceptions.

Like what?

Are you familiar with the Barbershop series?

Am I familiar with… (stammers) Look at me.

Of course I’m familiar with the Barbershop series.

My favorite spin-off is the one with Queen Latifah.

Yeah, but that’s not Barbershop.

That’s Beauty Shop.

To-mah-to, to-may-to.

Potato, papaya.

(sucks teeth)

So, what, American entertainment?

Is that our biggest difference?


there are certain freedoms that exist outside of Zamunda.


Like what?

Okay, this is going to sound stupid, but it has always been a dream of mine to… to one day have my own barbershop.

Yo, that’s awesome.

Are you making fun of me?


Nah, I’m being dead-ass.

Do it.

I-I don’t know anybody who can work scissors like you.

Well, except women are not allowed to own businesses in Zamunda.

You serious?


That’s not cool.

Well, I’m prince, right?

So, you know something?

As long as I’m prince, I can promise you there’s gonna be some changes around here.

Well, that is very idealistic.

But every prince… (sighs)

promises to do things differently, but eventually, they do things the same way they’ve always been done before.

Yeah, well, I’m not like every other prince.


I’m a prince from Queens.

I wonder who told you that.


I should not have done that.

I should not have done that.

Wait. Wait, hold on.



I think it is best you go to bed and get some rest.

Tomorrow is going to be a very long day.

You are one step closer to… marrying your princess.

Good night.

♪ ♪

Presenting the crown prince of Zamunda,

Prince Lavelle!

(cheering and applause)

♪ ♪


(“Koroba” by Tiwa Savage playing)


King Akeem.


So wonderful to see you, General.


(both chuckling)

IZZI: Ooh.


Prince Lavelle.

General Izzi.

Please, allow me to reintroduce

my daughter, Bopoto!

♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey-hey ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Hey, hey ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey-hey ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey… ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh… ♪

My prince.

Perhaps you two should get to know each other a little better.


(“These Streets” by Mi Casa playing)

♪ Good morning to the world out there… ♪


Lovely. (chuckles)

Hey, dig this here.

Could I get two Crown Royals for me and my royal compadre?


It means “friend.”

I am Uncle Reem’s friend.

Yes, you are.


How you doing? Hey, ladies.

How you doing? Mm.

I know I look good.

Mm, a makeover.

My hair is on point.

New dress. Who this?

Well, if you’re going to wear that dress, then you should wear this.

♪ That we have in this life ♪

♪ These streets… ♪

Oh, my God.

Are you serious?

Yes. Turn around.

Oh, my goodness.

(chuckling): Oh.

I can’t believe it. This is so beautiful.

I know you gonna want this back.

It’s a gift.

You’re family now.


Let’s go get drunk.


MARY: Yes, girl, me and you ’bout to turn it up.

Hey, bartender!

Let me have some of your finest drink.

Two shots of chilled Cîroc.

♪ ♪

So, uh… marriage.

It’s a big step.

I will make you a happy prince.

What about you?

How can I make you a happy princess?

What do you like?

Whatever you like.

Okay, I’ll back up.

Uh, Bopoto, what’s your favorite movie?

Whatever is your favorite movie.

Uh… is there a goal you have?

Is-is there a business that you want to start?

Whatever business you’d like to start.

I want to have a connection with the person that I’m gonna spend the rest of my life with.

But I am just a wife.

Can you wait right here?


But what shall I do?

Just wait.

Right here.

I shall wait here.


BOTH: ♪ Stop what you’re doing ’cause I’m about to ruin ♪

♪ The image and the style that you’re used to ♪

♪ I look funny, but, yo, I’m making money, see ♪

♪ So, yo, world, I hope you’re ready for me ♪


♪ The Humpty Dance ♪

♪ Is your chance to do the Hump ♪

♪ Uh, oh, do me, baby ♪

♪ Do the Humpty Hump, do the Humpty Hump ♪

♪ Oh, do me, baby. ♪

Everything is coming out…

Hey, um, I don’t mean to interrupt, but, Mutombo, do you mind if I have a minute with her?

My bad, man.

No, no, no.

It’s your party, Prince.

Come here, you gentle giant. (sighs)


I need to talk to you.

There’s nothing for us to talk about.

Excuse me.

Yes, there is.

I don’t want to marry her.

♪ ♪

I want to be with you.

You and only you are the reason why I’m a prince.

But, Lavelle…


My father… he’ll understand.

I’ll be right back.

I must say, you are more like your father than I thought.

Oh, really? Why do you say that, General?

Snatching up this bastard boy from America and throwing him into our kingly affairs…

(laughs) like a chess pawn?

(Izzi laughing)

Your pawn just took a future queen, and now there can be peace.

And profit.

Well played, King Akeem.

Well played.

(Izzi laughing)

I need to find my mom. I need to find my Uncle Reem.

We got to bust out of this bullshit, man.

Wh-Why? Where are we going?


A home…

A home that we can build together.

(playing upbeat tune)

Uh, where is Prince Lavelle?

My prince asked me to stay here about an hour ago.

Prince Lavelle Junson was seen fleeing with the royal groomer.

And he took his Uncle Reem and that wretched woman with him, as well.

Show respect.

She is still the mother of my son.

She took the royal jet.

That thieving bitch.

IZZI: King Akeem.

Where is your prince?

Ah, I do believe he has gone for one of his, um, evening strolls.

He does that from time to time to clear his mind.


I hope he’s not getting cold feet.


(Izzi chuckles)


Because I will be expecting a wedding tomorrow.

Of course.


IZZI: Wedding bells, wedding bells.

Everything that I have done for him, I can’t believe he has done this.

I make him a prince, I give him a chance to finally make something of himself, and this is how he repays me!

(slurring): I finally made a friend from my own hood, and now she’s gone.

(whimpers) Oh, I’m-a miss her crazy ass.

He could’ve told me about this groomer.

But, no, instead he runs off to America without a word to me.

It is the most selfish act, unworthy of a Joffer!

It is spineless!

Like father, like son.

What did you say?

Uppity bitch say what?



You are intoxicated, my queen.

All kinds of wiggity-wack stuff happens when you are drunk and high, including making babies that you don’t know anything about.

Right now you are getting very in and out of my pocket.

Are you trying to say I’m out of pocket?

What I am saying is, when a person is drunk, they may say something that they regret…

So, whenever a woman speaks her mind, including our daughter, then you just…

…so I suggest you mind your tongue!

What happened to you, Akeem?

You were supposed to change things.

You were supposed to bring this kingdom to the 21st century, but instead, you push our daughter aside, someone who has dedicated her life to this country.

And because she’s a woman, she can’t be your heir?

I cannot ignore hundreds of years of tradition.

I am the ruler of this land.

I must be strong.

I get it.

You’re the king.

Well, I’ll tell you what.

There are a lot of other beds in this castle.

I suggest you find another one.

Would you dare banish me from my own bedroom?

Are you a fool?

Do you see me hopping on one leg and barking like a dog?

What the hell is going on here?

He’s in the back.

He’s been here for hours.


How you doing, son?

I used to quite enjoy mopping.

It was simple, and it made sense.

Every day, I have moved closer to the comfort of life, and now my eyes are open, and the man that I always wanted to be is on the other side of the world.


Yes, he has fleed to America for love just as I did.

And now, because of my stubbornness, I have run off my own son.

Failed him as a father.

You’re not just a father.

You’re the king.

And heavy lies the head that wears the crown.

Yes, I understand that expression more now.

It’s not so much the crown that is so heavy.

It’s everything that comes with it. Hmm?

You’ve got your country to run and a crazy-ass general breathing down your neck.

And on top of all that, you got to be a husband and a father.

Yes, you can see that is most troubling.

Oh, I get it.

Of course you get it.

You are the king of your own castle.

And the troubles never stop, Akeem.

When I introduced the McFlurby, the McDonald’s lawyers came after me the same way this General Izzi is coming after you.

Cease-and-desist letters, copyright infringement.

I mean, the McFlurby is nothing like the McFlurry.

We put our toppings on the bottom.

So you have to stay strong.

And you have to put McDowell’s first.

I am McDowell’s.

And I am Zamunda.

It’s not the Golden Arches.

BOTH: It’s the Golden Arcs.

And I’m the boss.

And I am the MF’ing king.

You damn right you are.

Cleo, thank you.

I much needed to hear the wisdom of a father.

Well, I’m sure your father would understand what you’re going through.



What do you think your mother would say now?

My mother?

The queen.

I always thought that she was the wisest of all the Joffers.

What do you think she would say to you now, son?

♪ ♪

Zamundans, rise.

Prepare the royal jet.

I shall return to America and retrieve this errant child of mine.

General Izzi will return in one day, and if there’s no wedding, he most certainly will attack.

You stay here and protect my family.

I’m no warrior, Your Majesty.

Remember who you are.

You are a son of Zamunda.

Be strong.

♪ ♪

CLARENCE: And I’ll tell you something else.

I only like redbone gals.

Oh, see, that’s where we part. I like my women Black.

I want a woman so Black, when you make love, you need a flashlight.

I’m looking for the good stuff, man.

CLARENCE: Hey! Mufasa!

Hey, I hear you got your boy back.

My son has returned to Queens.

It is most urgent that I find him.

You know, he was here a little while ago with a fine little, pretty African thing. Wasn’t she fine?


Yeah, talking about getting her a job here.

Then they gonna save up her money.

Then she gonna get her own place.

That’s right.

I told her she could start right now, she was so fine.

That’s right.

But, she– they had to go off to their nuptials.




Near that Chinese restaurant where I caught the runs last Saturday.


Oh, King Yum’s.

Gentlemen, I have no time for this.

That egg foo yong made me have to stop off at my sister’s last week and make an emergency dump.


I have no time to listen to your stories about your bowel movements.

Where is the ceremony?

Church of Holy Jubilation.

Thank you.

You’re welcome.

Who the hell he think he talking to? Coming in here…

Just ’cause he a king. I got a dog named King.

Yeah, he ain’t the king of this shop.

I’m the king of this shop.


He was nicer when he was a prince.

(indistinct chatter)

(sirens whooping in distance)

Is this a pious house of God?

If “pious” means cheap, well, then you right.

This the best house of God we could find on a Tuesday afternoon.

So let’s get these rings on these fingers before the all-day shrimp ends at Sizzler’s.

I don’t even know why they call it “all-day.”

It ends at 6:00.

Look, baby, it’s about the love, okay?

Not the shrimp.

-What’s a Sizzler?

It’s nothing.

♪ ♪

I assume the prince has returned from his midnight stroll and is prepared to marry my daughter.

My apologies, General.

Prince Lavelle is currently indisposed.



I will not continue to be jerked around like a howler monkey grazing in a field of horny goat weeds.

Now, you tell me, where is King Akeem?

♪ ♪

REVEREND: All right.

Let’s get hitched.

(lights buzzing)

♪ Hallelu… ♪

Let there be light.


We are gathered here today for the meeting of these two beautiful souls, pressed together like a pair of sumptuous… beings.

Yeah, Lord.

Amen! Amen!


Feel his presence?

Yes, Father.

I can’t wait to go home and…

Look, um, I just want to apologize.

I know this isn’t exactly the wedding you’ve always imagined.

I don’t know why you would apologize.

I’d always imagined there’d be a womanizing, sexist officiant leading a very strange ceremony in black socks.

It couldn’t be more perfect.

So nice, I want ’em to say it twice.

Go on, preacher!


Say it again.

Amen, girl.

Hallelujah! Amen!


Go on, girl!

Yeah! (chuckles)

MARY: That’s right, girl.

You family now.

Take her.

Keep her as a prisoner until King Akeem gives me my answer.



(grunting and groaning)

Teach this girl some respect.

♪ ♪


Take me to the Church of the Holy Jubilation.

Sorry, pal. You’re gonna have to go into the app.

You can get a Lyft Lux.

It’s rush hour surge pricing.

You might want to look for a promo code.

Fighting is not for pretty girls and princesses.

Your king and father should have taught you to be more polite, not so nasty.

(girl yells fiercely)

(men screaming)


Defend yourself, you sweat from a baboon’s balls.

(yelling, grunting)



(yells fiercely)

(Izzi yelling)


(man grunts)


Perhaps now you would like to solve your problems diplomatically.

Do I have your attention?

I’m listening.

Now it’s time for the main event, young folks.

Lavelle Junson, do you take…


Did you run here all the way from Africa?

Lavelle, you cannot do this.

And you cannot turn your back on your family.

Family?! Let me tell you something!

Oh! (stammers)

I raised that boy!

You ain’t gonna run in here from Zamunda…

I know what I am to you!

I heard everything General Izzi said to you.

Using me as a chess pawn, right?

Lavelle, my son…

Don’t “son” me!

I’m gonna live my life with the woman I love.

Ain’t no castle or mountain of gold that’s gonna stop me from loving her.

And I’m-a try my hardest to make her happy.

Now, do you or do you not understand that?

♪ ♪

I do.

Long ago, I had your spirit.

I may not have been as brave as you, Lavelle Junson, but I know true love.

When I told my mother that my true love was my Queen Lisa, she urged me to go to her, just as you have for your bride.

The burdens of my country are not yours to carry.

And if you want to stay here in Queens and marry this fine Zamundan woman, I shall not stand in your path.

I’ve been ruled by fear for far too long.

It’s time for me to start becoming my own king.

My own man.

Just as you did, my son.

So, please excuse my intrusion. Carry on, please.

Oh, wait, wait, we into overtime now.

I need 200 more dollars.

What you need is to start this ceremony before I come up there and beat your…

AKEEM: Mary, Mary, if our son wants to be married in this glorious house of… in-in this glorious house…

This is a house of God, isn’t it?

More like a crack house of God.

AKEEM: Ah. Then it shall be as magnificent as a palace ceremony.

Come. Sit.

(Mary clears throat)

Yes, continue.

This doesn’t feel right.

What? You don’t want to get married?

No, I’m not saying I-I don’t want to get married.

Then what?

Zamunda’s my home.

It is my pride and my joy.

And what about your sisters?

You think they don’t need you?

LAVELLE: Well, um… maybe we should get married at the palace.

MIREMBE: But what about your people here?

What about the land of Queens?


Hear me now.

I am King Akeem Joffer,

and I’m bestowed with great power.

I shall bring Queens to Zamunda!

MARY: Yes!

(excited chatter)

That’s what I’m talking about.

REEM: They still wear silk.

Where the hell is Zamunda?

(“To Be Loved” playing)

(song continues in distance)

WOMAN (in distance): ♪ Someone to care ♪

♪ Someone to share ♪

♪ Lonely hours ♪

♪ And moments of despair ♪

♪ To be loved, to be loved ♪

♪ To be loved, to be loved ♪

♪ Oh, what a feeling ♪

♪ To be loved ♪

♪ Someone to kiss ♪

♪ Ah ♪

♪ Someone to miss ♪

♪ When you’re away ♪

♪ To hear from each day ♪

♪ To be loved ♪

♪ To be loved… ♪

I will always do what is right for Zamunda.

That is my oath as king.

And I promise you,

I shall always do what is right for our family.

That is my oath to you,

Lisa, my queen.

♪ Oh, what a feeling ♪

♪ To be loved. ♪

(song ends)

(“Assurance” by Davido playing)

♪ Hey, what’s up… ♪

Presenting the crown prince of Zamunda,

Prince Lavelle, and his bride, Princess Mirembe.

(cheering and applause)

♪ You’re the one I want, oh ♪

♪ Before my liver start to fail ♪

♪ You’re the one I need, oh ♪

♪ Before cassava start to hail ♪

♪ And if I ever leave, oh ♪

♪ Make water carry me dey go far away ♪

♪ Far away ♪

♪ So I am looking for a sister ♪

♪ Chioma, my lover ♪

♪ She get the dollar ♪

♪ Dollar ♪

♪ She dey wear designer ♪

♪ Love is sweet, oh… ♪

I think my kingdom was safer with me gone and you in charge.

I simply acted as my father and king has instructed.

And that is why I’ve issued a decree to Baba.

When I am gone,

Meeka Joffer shall rule as queen.

But the laws.

Will change.

With more changes to come with your guidance.

And what about Prince Lavelle?

Prince Lavelle shall serve as an ambassador to America.

WOMAN: Thank you.

And as your brother.

Forgive an old fool.

Old fool who loves you very much.

Hi. How y’all doing?

This is Mary.

Y’all look good tonight.

Hey. How you doing?

Girl, you is making a statement with that.

You is making a statement.

Thank you.

IZZI: King Akeem. (chuckles)

Love has once again triumphed in Zamunda.

(both chuckling)

Oh, children, you can go and play.

Go dance. Shake your booties off.

I hear the trade routes have reopened between our nations.

Yes. It will be a prosperous and peaceful time for us old heads.

(both chuckling)

I want to thank you for releasing my sister from her canine curse.

(whispers indistinctly)




♪ ♪

(song ends)


Yeah, give it up! Give it up for Davido!


(laughs) My man.

All right, all right.

Where are my people from Zamunda at?

(cheering, whooping)

Dig all that. Okay, now, where my people from Queens at?




Hey, right here!

We in the house!

In the building!

In the building!

We in Zamunda!

(chuckles) Well, I can dig that, too.

We’re about to fix it into overdrive, okay?


First of all, shout-out to King Akeem and his family for bringing my favorite artist back to Africa…


Who is it? Who is it?

Wait, Kendrick Lamar?


All right, we gonna take this old-school now, okay?

Wait, wait, wait, wait. (gasps)

Mary J. Blige.


Diana Ross!

(chuckles) Nope.

He’s my cousin. He’s also my inspiration.

Okay? He’s the wind beneath my wings.

Don’t play.

Who could be better than Diana Ross? Tell me!

Oh, you’ll see.

REEM: Okay, I want y’all

to put your hands together for Randy Watson!

(raucous cheering)

Randy Watson in here?!

And his band…

Oh, Lord.

…Sexual Chocolate!

(band playing “We Are Family”)

(excited shouting)

(off-key): ♪ Everyone can see ♪

♪ We’re together ♪

♪ As we walk on by ♪

♪ Ay ♪

♪ And we tight just like birds of a feather ♪

♪ Well, I won’t tell no lie ♪

♪ We ♪

♪ All of the people around me, they say ♪

♪ Can they be that close? Ha! ♪

♪ Just let me state for the record ♪

That boy good.


♪ We’re giving love ♪

♪ In a family dose, whoo ♪

♪ We are family ♪

♪ I got Sexual Chocolate with me ♪

Feel me, now.

I just want to tell you that every Sunday

I take my mama to get a McFlurby.

I love you, Cleo.

♪ Get up, everybody, and sing ♪

And now, ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado,

I give you Fresh Peaches and Sugar Cube!

♪ My name is Peaches, and I’m the best ♪

♪ All the DJs want to feel my breasts ♪

(Sugar Cube beatboxing)

♪ Still got the looks, still got the sass ♪

♪ Been 30 years, and I still got ass ♪

(saxophone solo playing)


(excited chatter)

Play that saxophone.

It’s a party over here!

Party over here!

REVEREND BROWN (singsongy): Amen.

God woke me up early this morning.

♪ Yes, he did… ♪

He said, if you ain’t got somebody to love, go out and find somebody to love.

♪ Find somebody to love ♪

‘Cause life’s about love.

♪ Life’s about love ♪

And life’s about family.

♪ Life’s about family ♪


♪ Amen ♪

Randy Watson.

♪ Randy Watson’s my name ♪

Take us home.

♪ Take us home, now ♪

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

♪ I got Sexual Chocolate with me… ♪


What say you, brother?

Would you like to leave all this and go back to Queens?

♪ Get up, everybody, and sing ♪

(crowd cheering)


♪ We are family ♪

♪ I got Sexual Chocolate with me ♪

BOTH: Nah.


♪ We are family ♪

Go, Uncle Reem!

♪ Get up, everybody, and sing ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh ♪

♪ We are family ♪

♪ I got Sexual Chocolate with me ♪

♪ Sexual Chocolate ♪

♪ We are family ♪

♪ Get up, everybody, and sing ♪

♪ We are family ♪

♪ I got Sexual Chocolate with me ♪

♪ We are family ♪

♪ Yes, we are ♪

♪ Get up, everybody, and sing. ♪

(tempo slows)

One time.

(drum and bass play one beat)

(saxophone playing interlude)

Two times.

(drum and bass play two beats)

(saxophone playing interlude)

Three times.

(drum and bass play three beats)

(saxophone playing interlude)

(song ends with flourish)

(camera clicks)

♪ Oh, say, can you see ♪

♪ I’m coming to America ♪

♪ Come and walk the yellow brick road ♪

♪ Feel the rush of platinum and gold in America ♪

♪ In America ♪

♪ They tell me it’s the land of the free… ♪

It seems that the last time I… I only recently discov– (laughing)

I can do that better.

Bastard child here. (laughs)

Let’s cut.

MAN: Cutting.

…inherited your father’s unforgiving memory.

Who you talking to? (grunting playfully)

Get that stupid look off your face.


I’m trying to rouse the lion.

(hissing, snarling)

(meows) Lion!


(singsongy): Got the whiskers.

They from a lion.

(laughs) Look at that.

That’s my thing.


Acting mine, that’s good.

He has already ordered your exla– Shit.

My ex-lax?


MAN: Cut.


MAN: Reset!

I’ve been a, uh–

Ah, boy. Oh, my bad.

I would nothing more– I would– (laughs)

Let’s do it again.


♪ I’ll be gone on a flight with my own entourage ♪

♪ Money no be problem ’cause I’m royal ♪

♪ Royal ♪

♪ Royal ♪

♪ Royal ♪

♪ And anywhere I go, me no need no introduction or permission ♪

♪ ‘Cause I’m royal ♪

♪ Royal ♪

♪ Royal ♪

♪ Royal ♪

(vocalizing) ♪ To do what I want… ♪

Is anybody gonna tell me why these mashed potatoes is black?


You damn right you are.

Thank you. (laughs)


♪ I must leave, but soon I’ll return to you ♪

♪ Now I’m on my way to America ♪


♪ Oh, say, can you see ♪

♪ I’m coming… ♪

Vacations were canceled, holidays ignored.

People didn’t even (bleep)– Wait a minute.

What was that line?


(laughing heartily)


Master of disaster!

Punisher of infidel!

The midnight train to Georgia.


(kick lands)

Ow! Shit!

(laughs): I’m sorry.

He actually kicked me in the ass.

I kicked you in the leg. Come on.

That wasn’t no accident.


♪ Coming to America. ♪

♪ She’s your ♪

♪ Queen to be ♪

(piano playing gentle melody)

♪ A queen to be forever ♪

♪ A queen who’ll do whatever ♪

♪ His Highness desires ♪

♪ She’s your queen to be ♪

♪ A vision of perfection ♪

♪ An object of affection ♪

♪ To quench your royal fire ♪

♪ Completely free ♪

♪ From infection ♪

♪ To be used at your discretion ♪

♪ Waiting only ♪

♪ For your direction ♪

♪ Your queen to ♪

♪ Be. ♪

(song ends)

Good night, Zamunda!

♪ Hey, hey ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey-hey ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Hey, hey ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey-hey ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh ♪

♪ Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey, hey ♪

♪ Hey, hey, hey-hey. ♪

♪ ♪

(choir vocalizing)

♪ ♪

(choir singing in foreign language)

♪ ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Africa. ♪

SAUL: Way down in the jungle deep, the lion stepped on the signified monkey’s feet.

The monkey said, “Hey, you bastard, can’t you see?

You’re standing on my goddamn feet!”

Hey, what is this, velvet?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More

Back to Black (2024) | Transcript

The life and music of Amy Winehouse, through the journey of adolescence to adulthood and the creation of one of the best-selling albums of our time.

The First Omen (2024) | Transcript

A young American woman is sent to Rome to begin a life of service to the church, but encounters a darkness that causes her to question her faith and uncovers a terrifying conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate.

The Listener (2022)

The Listener (2022) | Transcript

Follows a helpline volunteer who is part of the small army that gets on the phone every night, fielding calls from all kinds of people feeling lonely, broken, etc.

Shrek (2001)

Shrek (2001) | Transcript

A mean lord exiles fairytale creatures to the swamp of a grumpy ogre, who must go on a quest and rescue a princess for the lord in order to get his land back.

Weekly Magazine

Get the best articles once a week directly to your inbox!