The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was a cultural institution when it came to the representation of Black people in mainstream media. The massively popular series fought against the tropes, defied convention, and still provided an entertainingly hilarious family sitcom for the ages. You don’t really think about it, but in discussions of representation today, it’s hard to imagine where things would be if not for Fresh Prince. The series launched the Oscar-nominated stardom of Will Smith, plucked from the streets. So with the show’s 30th anniversary coming up, it’s the perfect time for the Fresh Prince reunion trailer, as they all return on HBO Max.
The Freshest Prince Of Bel Air
Image via NBC.
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air was a TV sitcom released in 1990 on NBC. The show was about a black teen from Philadelphia, going to live with his well-to-do aunt and uncle in the suburbs of Bel-Air, after an altercation with a gang. The premise of the street smart working class teen trying to fit in with his country club-going upper class family was the main source of comedy, as well as some insanely heartbreaking moments. The show went on for 6 seasons through the lives of the main cast starting as teens to grown adults, and all that life had to throw their way in between. The rich family aspect allowed the show to deal with a lot of Black stereotypes in media, and break ground on the modern-day representation of African-Americans on television.
Not to mention that the whole endeavor hinged on the shoulders of an untrained, unproven, scrawny rapper who never acted a day in his life; Will Smith. The Fresh Prince reunion trailer shows just how Smith brought the entire, and I mean, the entire cast of the show back to discuss the best, worst, and most memorable moments during their entire run. And it brings back so many memories for anyone that grew up watching the antics of the Banks and Smith families.
The Fresh Prince Reunion Trailer Is As Nostalgic As Can Be
Reunions and revivals are all the jam these days. So naturally, the Fresh Prince reunion trailer set itself apart from the rest. The trailer opens with Smith setting expectations. Then the footage shows how the cast reunited on the same sound stage used to shoot the long-running series. The reunion is both for fans but also looks like one for the cast themselves. Everyone returns, from Alfonso Ribiero, Tatyana Ali, and Karyn Parsons to Joseph Marcell, Daphne Reid, and DJ Jazzy Jeff. The cast looks delighted to be with one another once again and it’s honestly delightful as hell to watch.
Seeing everyone back together brings back memories of seeing the characters in the show, as you realize how much of their chemistry was genuinely based on their real-life personalities just meshing. As Ali puts it, the show was about Black Excellence, and the excellence was the cast loving each other like a family. And it came across on screen, making the show so beloved, even 30 years later. The trailer showcases bits of interviews and anecdotes that the cast shares about their experiences. Things get emotional when they remember Smith’s on-screen uncle and kind of off-screen mentor in James Avery. Avery played Smith’s uncle and passed in 2013 and is the only cast member missing from the reunion. Well, almost the only one. The trailer ends on a twist.
The Aunt Vivian Controversy
Image via Screen Grab.
One of the most interesting things about the Fresh Prince reunion trailer is something that happens at the end. Smith says to the rest of the cast that he couldn’t celebrate 30 years of the show without ‘Janet’. Then the original actor who played Smith’s aunt Vivian, Janet Hubert, appears. This is a big deal because the actor was replaced on the show at the end of season 3, due to a highly controversial scandal. Daphne Reid replaced Hubert and went on to play Aunt Vivian for the remainder of the series.
The firing was very public, and possibly due to Hubert and Smith not getting along onset of the show. Both said some nasty things about one another in the media; Hubert holding Smith responsible for her departure, while Smith accused her of being a pain to work with. It seems that since then the two have resolved their differences. Which is pretty cool, seeing that every single member of the cast returns for the Fresh Prince reunion trailer. Now, Hubert does look like she’s in a different location than the sound stage, so not sure if she’ll actually meet the full cast in the reunion.
The Fresh Prince reunion streams on HBO Max on November 19.
So, how excited are you to return to Bel Air with the Banks and Smith family? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image via Will Smith’s Instagram
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.