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Every Character That Arsenio Hall Plays In Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America is the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 hit comedy Coming to America. The original is a cult classic that superfans quote and make reference to in everyday conversation. The characters made such an indelible mark on pop culture that Beyoncé and Jay-Z once dressed as the African royals for Halloween.

In the original movie, Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is set to marry a woman he doesn't love. Though arranged marriages are a tradition in Zamunda, the prince wants to find true love. He sets out on a journey to America with his sidekick Semmi (Arsenio Hall) and lands in Queens, New York. After a few bumps in the road, Akeem finally finds true love with a sweet woman named Lisa (Shari Headley), and the two head back to Zamunda to wed.

Already a comedy star, audiences expected laughs from Murphy. With movies like Trading Places, Beverly Hills Cop, and The Golden Child, Murphy was the king of 1980s comedy. But what really brought the funny to Coming to America were the many characters he and Hall played. From the off-key showstopper Randy Watson to a voluptuous woman in the club, the duo took the art of hilarity to another level. At the time of the movie's premiere, Hall had only popped up in a few films and TV shows but would later make it big as the host of his own late-night talk show

In the sequel, playing multiple characters is once again part of the movie's hilarious charm, and Hall brought back many of the characters fans love. 

*Spoiler Alert*


Semmi was a very important character in the original movie. He was Prince Akeem's best friend in Zamunda, and King Jaffe Joffer (James Earl Jones) trusted Semmi to watch over Akeem on their trip to New York. But, Semmi is somewhat of a brat, whose devilish escapades often got Akeem in trouble. Once they hit Queens, and Semmi was free of the constraints of Zamunda correctness, he was always plotting to fulfill his own self-interests.

In the sequel, audiences learn just how much trouble Semmi got Akeem into 30 years ago when it's revealed that Akeem has an illegitimate son in Queens. How is this possible, when we only saw him with Lisa? Well, moviegoers will be just as shocked as Akeem when Semmi's trickery is revealed. His incessant thirst for women now has the King of Zamunda in hot water with his wife, his daughters, and his country's diplomacy.


Arsenio Hall brings a new character to life in Coming 2 America. As Baba — which carries such translations as "father," "grandfather," and "wise old man" — Hall is a wrinkly, wide-eyed old man with long white dreadlocks. He's a shaman, of sorts, with the ability to see the truth — or so he claims. Akeem's ailing father looks to Baba to explain the vision he recently had about Akeem's long-lost son. The old man is forceful, and a little nuts, but it turned out Semmi was the harbinger of the truth.

Eddie Murphy originally wanted Baba to be a role he added to his many characters in the movie, but once he realized how taxing the makeup process was, he passed. Speaking with USA Today about the process of transforming into Baba, Hall said it was challenging, and the makeup "never comes off. You wake up in the morning and there's little brown glue boogers behind your ear and stuff on the pillow."

In one lively scene, Baba is ready to enact the final ritual of the new prince's training. Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) is to have a circumcision ceremony. His family is gung ho for the Zamunda tradition, with reassuring smiles and encouragement. Baba even shows Lavelle all of the past Zamunda princes who have endured the tradition. Lavelle closes his eyes, agonizing over the large knife Baba has ready to make the big chop, and then is let in on the joke when he sees that Baba has actually chopped a piece of food.


The Morris character is one of Arsenio Hall's roles that brought big laughs to the original movie and brings even more in the sequel. He's one of the old guys in the Queens barbershop who got a rise out of the guys from Zamunda. In the original movie, Akeem and Semmi first enter the barbershop to get haircuts that will make them look more American. Akeem's royal rat tail makes him stand out, and he wants to get rid of it. Like your typical barbershop, the guys enter in the middle of an engaging discussion, before everyone directs their attention to the strange newcomers. Morris is an uptight old man who co-signs the opinions of the main barber, Clarence, played by Murphy. The barbershop guys grow fond of Akeem and Semmi, greeting them at events in the community and sharing their misguided advice about love.

In the sequel, Morris hasn't aged much and is still sitting in the barbershop engaged in a random discussion. The old-timers aren't too surprised to see the Zamundan royals but are shocked to hear about Akeem's illegitimate son. They joke with him about court-ordered child support being the reason someone would have to travel across the world for a child they've never met, but Semmi sternly assures them that the prince would never pay child support. This news makes the old guys side-eye Akeem, and Morris chimes in, saying, "No child support for 30 years and you came back? You's a dummy!"

Reverend Brown

Reverend Brown is another funny character Arsenio Hall brought back to life in Coming 2 America. The spirited preacher was memorable in the original movie, so fans should be excited to see him in the sequel. Hall was recently on The Howard Stern Show promoting the upcoming release of the movie and talked about the origin of Reverend Brown. Hall's own father was a preacher, so of the essence of the character, he said he's "a little bit him, and a little bit is this preacher in Chicago." Hall used this preacher's style, body language, and even some of his own words to bring Reverend Brown to life.

In the original movie, Reverend Brown is the host of the community benefit that Lisa and her family are sponsoring. Akeem drags Semmi to the event to show Lisa his support, and they are revved up by a call and response from Reverend Brown. The preacher then goes into the introduction of a young musician named Randy Watson, a local singer who is unaware that he can't sing very well. In the sequel, we see Reverend Brown at his storefront church in Queens. Lavelle is ready to marry the young Zamundan woman he fell in love with, and Reverend Brown is the only preacher they could find at the last minute. When the new prince has a nicer celebration in Zamunda, Reverend Brown is there to again introduce the musical stylings of Randy Watson.