Uoma Beauty takes us back to the fictional African nation of Zamunda with its limited-edition Black Magic Coming 2 America Collection makeup collab with Eddie Murphy’s latest vehicle Coming 2 America, currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
For Sharon Chuter, the Nigerian-born beauty mogul and founder of Uoma Beauty and the grassroots initiative Pull Up For Change, the original version of the film was an integral part of her childhood. “It’s iconic. I probably saw it about a hundred times in my lifetime. The more I watch Coming 2 America, the more I notice different things in it each and every time. I see things in a different lens. I see more beauty in it,” reveals Chuter. Thus, she was honored when the movie’s studio reached out to her about collaborating on a makeup collection that would amplify the storytelling of the flick.
The brand’s exclusive cosmetics edit was inspired by the elaborate content within the film as well as by the lush beauty and rich ethnic diversity of the Mother Land in its most authentic form. It draws on the legacy of the great African queens from all over the continent, who were peerless in the way they ruled and led the tribes of their lands—from Amina, Moremi and Yaa Asantewaa of West Africa; Kandake Amanirenas of the Kingdom of Kush (which is now South Sudan); Nzinga Mbande of Ndogo and Matamba (current day Angola); Ranavalona of Madagascar; Nandi of the Zulu kingdom; Nefertiti of ancient Egypt; and Makeda of Ethiopia (better known as the Queen of Sheba). “They just weren’t simply great wives of a king. In fact, some of them never married. These queens really transformed their kingdoms, and their nations prospered under their command. Most of them were fierce warriors who led their armies in battle. They blurred gender lines and gaps, and really ruled their kingdoms in their own right,” explains Chuter.
To celebrate these badass empresses, the collection, which has a particular focus on the eyes, showcases rich, vivacious hues and tones—from opulent metallics, royal blues and purples, vibrant neons— in striking packaging befitting of African royalty. There’s the Royal Heir-Tage Color Palette, a 10-pan palette with shades names referencing the mighty queens of Africa; plus a duo of mini palettes— Good Morning Zamunda and Queen To Be—consisting of an array of 9 eyeshadows that pay homage to the original blockbuster and the sequel.
To support the eye palettes, Uoma includes kohl liners in inky black and a deep mauve as a nod to the continent’s ancestral link to cosmetics. “Kohl is one of the oldest makeup products used throughout Africa. In some parts, it’s even used on kids and babies to ward off evil,” explains Chuter.
Three glimmery lipsticks and a highlighter palette round out the collection.
And The Black Skinned Beauty portraits, an arresting visual campaign that accompanies the collab, was produced by the maquillage master Sir John, South African visual artist Trevor Stuurman, and Bey’s fave stylist Zerina Akers (who utilized designs from the film’s preeminent Black costume designer Ruth E. Carter). The stunning imagery pays homage to the queens of Africa and distills their virtues into five essences: courage, pride, heritage, opulence and resilience. It pays honor to our past noble ancestors while unapologetically celebrating the diversity and naturally inherent royalty amongst today’s Black female generation.
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Joane Amay is the Beauty and Style Director at Ebony magazine. A hoarder of shoes, baubles and sparkly things, she dreams one day of owning her own private island.