Award-winning filmmaker and Memphian Anwar Jamison is making his rounds this week at the 2020 Indie Memphis festival to premier his latest film “Coming to Africa.”
The film is a light-hearted romantic comedy that boasts social consciousness by diving into a connection of Black love. It features a stellar ensemble cast, including Jamison, Ghanaian actress Nana Ama McBrown (“Tentacles”) and renowned actor Khalil Kain (“Juice” and “Girlfriends”).
Who is Anwar Jamison?
Originally from Racine, Wis., Jamison made his way to Memphis more than a decade ago to continue his education at the University of Memphis.
While receiving his master’s degree in English and video and film production, he decided to leave the music scene and step into the film world, creating his first motion picture “Funeral Arrangements” in 2008.
Throughout the years, he has created several films that focused on social injustice and classism. “Coming to Africa” however inspired him to dive deeper into self-identity stereotypes and social injustice through the lens of Black love.
“Sistah Souljah came to the U of M in 2001 and it was her speech that spoke on going back to Africa that inspired me,” Jamison said. “At that point in time I had already done my research on Kwame Nkrumah, the president of Ghana, but it was something about her speech, where she spoke on how we as people needed to culturally get back to Africa.
“It was so powerful, it made me want to know more. So I researched and narrowed my search to Ghana and from there, that’s where I knew I wanted to go. And the rest was history.”
Coming to Africa
The film takes place in Memphis and Accra, Ghana’s capital, where Jamison’s character (Adrian), an over-achiever, believes that as long as a Black man is successful, the less problems he will face when it comes to “the struggle.”
After rising to the top by becoming the first Black vice-president in the history of his company and experiencing some racial issues, he realized “the struggle” was in his own backyard.
The movie then introduces his brother, Buck (Khalil Kain), a local activist and barber, who is a firm believer in social change and Black liberation. He begins to spark the idea to Adrian of going back to Africa to learn more about himself.
“After learning that his older brother Adonis (Powwah Uhuru) had been saving up to send his wife on the perfect trip to Africa for their 10-year anniversary, Adrian decides to take flight to Ghana.
During the duration of his visit, he meets Akosua (Nana Ama McBrown) for a trip that completely changed his life.
“When I met Anwar, he was cool people right off the bat,” Kain said. “I looked at the script and read it, and I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of. If I could help or assist this brother in any type of way, I wanted to be there.”
2020 Indie Memphis Film Festival
“Coming to Africa” is one of the official selections for the 2020 Indie Memphis Film Festival, a virtual presentation that began Oct. 21 and runs through Thursday (Oct. 29). Inclement weather pushed the film’s premier back to Wednesday (Oct.) 28 at the Summer Malco Drive-In.
(For information about the festival’s online events and discussions, visit www.indiememphis.org.)