The conversation between Will Smith and original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion still haunts me.
I was so excited when the news of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion broke in September 2020.
Technically, for any true Fresh Prince devotee the reunion episode delivered. It was a full cast and they even reunited in the Banks Family’s beloved Bel Air living room.
And their tribute to the now-passed James Avery was truly touching. But despite it all, there’s a part of me that feels like there was something just not quite right.
Being a 90’s baby, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was my go-to. I remember when OG Aunt Viv stopped showing up in season four, but rather an unfamiliar Aunt Viv did instead. From that point, nothing was the same.
Being so young at the time, I wouldn’t say I quite understood what was going on. But I sure as hell did wonder where OG Aunt Viv had mysteriously gone.
As the years went on, I didn’t wonder as much… that is until the news of the reunion broke. After completing a few Google searches, it didn’t take too long for me to get answers on why Hubert exited the show. And those answers weren’t pretty.
That so-called Fresh Prince feud is not new news though at all. Even back in 2016, E! reported on the long-running “beef” between Smith and Hubert.
I’m not going to lie – I watched on the reunion eagerly awaiting a reconciliation between Hubert and the cast members and maybe if we wouldn’t get that, perhaps an apology from the show’s protagonist. But instead the only thing I got was a feeling of disappointment as I learnt about the way that Hubert’s exit from the show was handled.
Hubert poured her heart out to Smith and to the camera, telling him, “But you took all that away from me, with your words. Words can kill. I lost everything – reputation, everything. Everything. And I understand you were able to move forward, but those words, calling a Black woman difficult in Hollywood is the kiss of death. It’s the kiss of death, and it’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business. But I have felt it was necessary for us to finally move forward. And I’m sorry that I have blasted you to pieces.”
Despite Hubert telling Smith that the conversation feels “healing”, I feel like I was left with more questions than answers.
Did the cast members truly not no the reason why Hubert was asked to leave? Did any of them reconcile with her before the reunion? Did anyone care that she was in an abusive marriage while she was pregnant and playing the role of Aunt Viv?
Did anyone care that her name became tarnished and that her career was never the same again?
I don’t know, maybe I just need to remind myself of Hubert’s words to Smith, “I didn’t come here to have animosity. I came here to resolve, ’cause it’s time.”