Did the hit movie “Coming 2 America” pay tribute to Jamaican-born actress Madge Sinclair? After the film was released on Amazon Prime on March 6th, 2021, many people speculated that the filmmakers did pay tribute to Madge Sinclair, the actress who played “Queen Aoleon,” the mother of character lead “Prince Akeem Joffer,” who is played by Eddie Murphy.
The eagerly awaited sequel to the original 1988 film features nearly all of the original cast members, but it does not include actress Madge Sinclair, who originated the role of Queen Aoleon Joffer, Akeem’s mother and the Queen of Zamunda. Sinclair passed away at the age of 57 on December 20, 1995, 13 years after her original diagnosis of leukemia in 1982. Fans of the film were hoping that the new film would honor her in some way, and many are seeing tributes to the actress in how the film uses the colors and display of the Jamaican flag.
Viewers have expressed their appreciation for the tributes to Sinclair that they see in the film, with posts like:
“That’s Eddie Murphy paying respect to Madge Sinclair who played his mom. I cried a little when I saw it and pictures of her around the palace 🇯🇲. Eddie Murphy respect!”
“I screamed when I saw it. I loved that we were represented.”
“I heard that the representation of the colors may have been due to Madge Sinclair, who played the queen and is no longer with us.”
“It’s because puma is the sponsor. Puma is a big sponsor of Jamaica sports; the brand is very popular in Jamaica even more than it is in other parts of the world so they have to represent.”
Additional tributes and references can be found in the flag of the fictitious nation of Zamunda, which uses the same colors as Jamaica’s flag. Some viewers believe this pays tribute to the Jamaican human rights activist and Pan-African leader Marcus Garvey. The flag of Zamunda is black and green with a lion insignia on it. It includes two of the three Pan-African colors introduced by Garvey in 1920. The colors of red, black, and green are still recognizable as a symbol of the Pan-Africanism movement, with the red representing the blood that unites all those of African ancestry.
Madge Sinclair was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1938 to Herbert and Jemima Walters. She attended the Shortwood College for Women and then worked as a teacher in Jamaica until 1966 when she went to New York to pursue a career in acting. Her acting career began with the New York Shakespearean Festival and Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. She was known for her appearances in “Roots,” the original “Coming to America,” and “Conrack.” During her career, she appeared in 27 television shows and 17 films. Her last appearance was as the voice of “Sarabi” in “The Lion King” in 1994.
Sinclair was the recipient of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction presented by the Prime Minister of Jamaica, as well as two Image Awards from the NAACP.
Spoiler Alert: In a scene “Coming 2 America,” Princess Meeka Joffer (KiKi Layne), the eldest daughter of Prince/King Akeem Joffer (Eddie Murphy), was practicing fighting techniques outdoors and her outfit has a Jamaican flag on the back. The whole outfit is in the colors of the Jamaican flag.
Photo: Amazon Studio