By Shania King-Soyza
The world was blessed with The Fresh Prince Reunion, on November 19, 2020. We witnessed the characters we grew up with, reunite in the same room it all began in.
Whether you were a child in the 90s, 200s or 2010s the sentiment remains as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air has an everlasting effect on our culture. The viewers were exposed to the unavoidable presence of time as we no longer saw a 10-year-old ‘Ashley,’ a skinny moustached ‘Will,’ or the presence or ‘Uncle Phil.’ Tears, laughter, and a strong sense of nostalgia: the reunion exposes behind the scenes stories and moments. The actors and actresses remind us of their brilliant talent, showmanship, and their actual sense of family which makes the show iconic and desirable.
Take a moment and deeply appreciate James Avery or rather known as ‘Uncle Phil’ as he was unable to join the reunion due to his unexpected tragic death in 2013. The show plays homage to the dad of all dads on television, we saw his relationship with cast and his amazing acting throughout the show. It is important that there are a strong, humble, intelligent representations of black men on television but it is even more prevalent to have amazing and accurate portrayals of black fathers on screen. ‘Uncle Phil’ was the father to most children who did not have theirs around or even to those who needed male role model. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would not have been the impactful, influential, everlasting show it was, if it were not for James Avery. “Rest in peace Uncle Phil.”
Finally, we saw Will Smith and Janet Hubert reunite and discuss their 27 years of animosity. Hubert described Will’s actions as the “kiss of death” for black women in Hollywood as he labelled her “difficult.” As they find closure within each other, Hubert joining the cast (expect from Alfonso or as Hubert called him, “Will’s tampon” who was missing) creating a sense of catharsis for the cast and the viewers watching both ‘Aunt Vivs’ interact.
The reunion provides a sense of understanding of the necessity of the show’s conclusion. We must grow and continue beyond our comfortability whilst retaining the lessons we learnt along the way – in which Will acknowledges as he switches off the lights ending the show.