by G. Brown
It’s the reunion “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” fandom has been waiting two decades to see. When the cast gathered for a photo-shoot stroll down memory lane the actress who wasn’t invited to the party went off 90’s “West Philadelphia born and raised” style!
Earlier this week, Will Smith(as himself), Alfonso Ribeiro(Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali(Ashley Banks), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks) and Daphne Maxwell Reid (the second Aunt Vivian Banks) all reunited for a photo for a charity event hosted by Parsons. Even the family’s butler Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell) was there. The only family member missing was actor James Avery who played Uncle Phil (Philip Banks) who sadly died in 2014. The bittersweet memory of his absence was shared by Ribeiro who posted an IG pic with the caption, “Always amazing to spend an afternoon with my Fresh Prince family. Wishing that James Avery was still with us to make this complete.” In two days, the photo has gotten over 61K likes @therealalfonsorribeiro.
The photo went viral with fans fondly reliving the hit sitcom that launched Will Smith into super stardom. Everybody loved seeing the gang back together…well, everybody except actress Janet Hubert who also posted on social media after seeing the photo with the Aunt Viv she sees as a poser. The OG Aunt Viv had some particularly harsh words for Ribiero and those words were not ‘Carlton go to your room’…
If you know your 90’s TV sitcom trivia, the matriarch of the Banks clan was played by two actresses, Reid included in the reunion photo, replaced Janet Hubert who starred in the role for three years.
Hubert has been feuding with various members of the cast since her sudden departure which she blamed on fellow co-star Will Smith and the show’s producers.
At the time of her departure, NBC which aired the show said Hubert was let go because of “creative differences”–Hollywood polite speak for ‘we are not going to tell you what really happened because it was really nasty’. Smith later said in a radio interview, “I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be The Aunt Viv of Bel Air Show because I know she is going to dog me in the press. She has basically gone from a quarter of a million dollars a year to nothing. She’s mad now but she’s been mad all along. She said once, I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.’ No matter what, to her I’m just the Antichrist.”
And Hubert has been trying to exorcise ‘Antichrist Will Smith’ ever since. Last year you may recall, the Smith vs. Hubert feud was re-ignited when the actress called out Smith’s wife Jada who organized an Oscar boycott when Will wasn’t nominated for his movie “Concussion”. TRN’s article “The #OscarBoycott Drama is Turning Out to Be Better Than The Oscars Themselves!” recapped all the vitriolic volley between the women during which Hubert told Jada, “there’s a lot of sh** going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize. People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you’re talking about some motherf**king actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep.”
It seems that Hubert hasn’t reached the “Frozen” stage yet and is ready to “Let It Go” because she is still nursing some pretty deep wounds. The reunion photo was just a gathering for Parsons charity…heavens forbid anyone actually tries to do a “Fresh Prince” reboot because Hubert would probably go full blast nuclear.
What do you think…is it time for Hubert to move on after 20 years? Or does she have a point that perhaps Will Smith did do some dirty dealings and tanked her career?