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'Black Panther,' 'Coming 2 America' costume designer Ruth E. Carter on Wakanda vs. Zamunda

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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  • Ruth E. Carter
    American costume designer

It was almost like a dress rehearsal. During the filming of 2018’s Black Panther, the cast celebrated co-star Lupita Nyong’o’s birthday with a Coming to America-themed party. Naturally, they leaned on the film’s accomplished costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, for their Zamundan-inspired get-ups.

“They were all running to my office for a costume to wear to Lupita’s birthday party,” Carter tells Yahoo Entertainment during a recent virtual interview (watch above). “The only person I didn’t [dress] was [Chadwick Boseman], he did the [Rev. Brown costume] on his own. It was fun, we had fun.”

Beyond her after-hours favors for the cast, Carter’s work crafting the colorful attire of Wakanda’s heroes and villains was widely celebrated, culminating with her becoming the first Black woman ever to win Best Costume Design at the Academy Awards. Carter became a most obvious candidate, then, to bring her styles to the highly anticipated new sequel Coming 2 America, especially after collaborating with star Eddie Murphy in between those projects on 2019’s Dolemite Is My Name.

'Coming 2 America' (Amazon)
Coming 2 America (Photo: Amazon)

But while the regal African looks in Coming 2 America might remind viewers of Black Panther, Carter stresses there are major differences between the aesthetics of Zamunda and Wakanda.

“It was important that we come from a tribal point of view, inspired by tribal customs and techniques,” Carter says of Coming 2 America. “In Wakanda, it was a lot more in-depth in terms of culture, representation and no appropriation. It was a different approach and therefore it has a completely different look.”

'Black Panther' (Disney/Marvel)
Black Panther (Photo: Disney/Marvel)

There’s also a comedic element involved in the Coming to America sequel.

“Some of Meeka’s crowns are like Mack trucks,” Carter laughs about Kiki Layne’s princess character.

Coming 2 America could very well land Carter back in the mix for another Academy Award a year from now. But while she’s an Oscar-winning costume designer, that doesn’t mean she’s designed a costume for her personal Oscar statuette at home.

“He’s perfectly fine naked,” she says. “I like him naked.”

Coming 2 America is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

Video produced by Jon San and edited by Jason Fitzpatrick

Watch the cast talk about the sequel:

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