by Giselle Morales (@gmorales1110)
LOS ANGELES —
Thirty years after “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” first premiered, fans of the iconic sitcom got to relive some of the show’s most memorable moments when the cast reunited for a reunion special that aired on HBO Max.
The cast which included Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro, Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Joseph Marcell and DJ Jazzy Jeff, came together and relived the show’s journey from beginning to end while reminiscing about what made the show special.
The reunion special featured a recreated version of the set and plenty of clips from the show that took fans on a nostalgic journey of the sitcom that ran for six seasons and aired 150 episodes.
During the special, Smith shared that the original idea for the show came from Benny Medina, who has worked as a producer and is also well-known for managing talents like Jennifer Lopez.
“Benny Medina pitched me the whole idea of the show because it was based on [his] life [because] he went from Watts to Beverly Hills,” Smith said during the special.
Smith also went on to share that Quincy Jones also played an instrumental role in securing a deal to film the show’s pilot episode.
The cast also touched on the organic chemistry that they had which made the show flow so naturally and helped create some of the show’s most comedic moments.
“We knew that we could rely on each other and there was always a respect and a trust,” Ribeiro said.
Throughout the special the cast spoke about their favorite episodes and Ribeiro also talked about the creation of the infamous “Carton Dance”.
“I needed to figure out how this character would dance, [and] what would be the actual move that hit it perfect,” Ribeiro said during the special.
The special also showed the cast as they remembered James Avery who played Uncle Phil and reminisced on the valuable lessons that he taught them.
Tatyana Ali who played Ashley Banks said, “He was my teacher, I learned what it means to be an artist from him.”
The cast was visibly overcome with emotion as scenes and memories of Avery, who passed away in 2013, were shown on the screen.
In addition, Janet Hubert-Whitten who played ‘Aunt Vivian’ for the show’s first three season, reunited with Will Smith and the rest of the cast for the first time since her departure.
Smith and Hubert-Whitten had a one-on-one conversation where she shared the private struggles that she dealt with during her final season on the show and where she and Smith ultimately reconciled after 27 years apart.
Hubert-Whitten also addressed the misconceptions surrounding her departure, saying that she was never fired but decided to leave and was ultimately re-casted after declining to accept the deal that she was offered.
“They offered me this really bad deal in the third season…so that meant my salary was cut, I had a new baby and a husband who was out of work so I said ‘no’. I did not accept their offer, I was never fired,” Hubert-Whitten said during the special.
Hubert-Whitten later reunited with the entire cast which marked the first time that both actresses who played ‘Aunt Vivian’ met for the first time.
As the special came to an end, the cast came together and reenacted their pre-show ritual which featured plenty of repercussions and was capped off with Smith performing the show’s iconic theme song.