With Coming To America 2’s release just weeks away, an actress from the first movie spoke out about her experience as a dark-skinned woman in the film.
Vanessa Bell Calloway, a veteran actress, told Page Six that she originally auditioned for the lead role “Lisa,” played by actress Shari Headley. The 67-year-old thespian disclosed that she was given a smaller part because she was too dark.
“When you have white people hiring Black people in movies, sometimes a certain look is wanted,” she told the publication.
Bell Calloway recounted the casting team “wanted a light-skinned girl. I just wasn’t light enough, even though Eddie had the final say on who played Lisa.”
After the actress was rejected for Lisa’s role, she went for the part of “Imani Izzi,” the woman Eddie Murphy’s character “Hakeem” was supposed to marry. She opined about the era and what expectations were among Black actors at that time. She also candidly spoke about colorism being prevalent in the industry.
Bell Calloway explained, “That’s something that we’ve always dealt with within our race: A lot of men were indoctrinated by having a white woman or light-skinned woman on their arm… I didn’t want the part of Imani. I wanted to be Lisa — I had read the script, and I wanted the bigger role.”
She maintained that she was grateful to be in the classic film made in 1989.
“The real deal is, when you’re in a situation like that, you wanna be a part of an Eddie Murphy movie. I wasn’t gonna say no,” Bell Calloway expressed. “I would’ve loved to have had the lead part, but I was very happy to be in the movie. I can’t lie about that. I said, ‘I’ll make the best out of this, and I’ll be the best.’ It was a smaller role, but it was a glamorous part to play. And Shari did a great job.”
The actress may be on to something. In the original film, Lisa was portrayed as the older light-skinned sister who had it all– a steady boyfriend and a prince vying for her affection. Her younger dark-skinned sister, Patrice (played by Allison Dean), was envious of her sister’s life and was her sibling’s antagonist in the movie.
Bell Calloway will appear in Coming To America 2.
Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, and KiKi Layne will also star alongside Murphy.
UPCOMING TOP EVENTS!
Ghana’s leading fashion event Accra Fashion Week is scheduled for 7-11 December 2022 following their 5th-year celebration last year in 2021. Accra Fashion Week is a platform for African designers that can be compared to fashion weeks across the major capitals. It aims to fill the void which sees tremendous creativity and culture across the continent with the absence of an operating fashion infrastructure.
The epic event took place at Ghana Dubai in Accra, and saw models march down the steps from the Kwame Nkrumah Monument whilst being followed by a spotlight, before circulating the central fountains. Memories of the exciting night still give chills as guests revisit the experience on youtube.
However, rest assured that 2022 is going to be even more exciting with greater performances and an upgraded designer collection. FashionGHANA.com is sure to bring you the exclusives we did on www.FashionGHANA.com/TV. All last year’s shows are available to watch on youtube. Designer’s registration is ongoing on the AccraFashionWeek.org website.
As we embark on another year of celebrating African culture, our theme for 2022 is “Afrofuturism.” This term was created to explore the developing intersection of cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of history as it relates to the African Diaspora. During this year’s events, Afrochella will bring “Afrofuturism” to life through fashion, food, art and music. In 2019, the African Diaspora returned home to the continent for the “Year of Return.” This year, we will explore the endless possibilities of what “Afrofuturism” could look like in 2022 and beyond.
Afro Nation is a brand new music festival, offering a lineup packed with talent from the worlds of Afrobeats, hip hop, R&B and dancehall
Afro Nation will bring together the best artists in afrobeats, hip hop, r&b, dancehall and bashment. Expect world-class programming of live performances and DJs.
#AfroNation is an all-inclusive music and arts festival meant to celebrate and eulogize African culture across various continents, not just Africa.
DIRECTION COLLECTION: OUT NOW!
Follow us on Instagram @FashionGHANA_com | Twitter: @fashionGHANA | Facebook: Fashionghana.com
To Submit stories Email: [email protected] or HashTag #FashionGHANA