Bel-Air‘s second season brings us the next chapter in Will’s coming-of-age, and the cast and crew of the series talked with Shadow and Act about what to expect.
Jabari Banks, who plays Will, spoke about his character’s fight to be his authentic self. Banks said that he tries to stay authentic in his everyday life.
“I feel like a lot of the time, people have ideas of who you are or they…paint a certain picture of you in their head,” he said. “And sometimes you got to show them this is me, and show up authentically. I’m never afraid to do that in every space. I feel like that is my superpower, that is my strength, and that is my testimony to show other people that you can do the same.”
Banks also said that he and his cast have created a family, allowing them to have deep conversations they can bring to their characters.
“I feel like we have cultivated this community and this family and we’re able to pour ourselves to other people as individuals, not as actors [but] as artists, and just as people to really sit down and have those talks,” he said. “That really informs a lot of what happens on screen, and I feel like that gives us the freedom to be vulnerable in front of each other.”
Tatyana Ali joins the season as the influential Mrs. Hughes, an English teacher at Bel-Air Middle School who becomes a mentor to Ashley (Akira Akbar). Ali said that she has also had influential people in her life, including her Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on-screen father, James Avery.
“I’ve been very lucky in my life to have many people who fed me in that way. My mother, my grandmother, who I lost this August, was definitely a driving force,” she said. “I’ve had teachers in college, throughout elementary school, who shared books with me, plays with me, introduced me to poets and poetry that have been so formative to my life, who I think I am, my place in the world and also what I could possibly contribute. James Avery was one of those people. Every birthday he gave me a collectible Black baby doll. That might not seem like a big deal now, but in the ’90s, you couldn’t really go to the store and find that, but…that was really important to him.”
Watch the interviews with the rest of the cast and crew, including Akbar, Coco Jones, Olly Sholotan, Cassandra Freeman, Adrian Holmes, Jimmy Akingbola, Morgan Cooper and Carla Banks Waddles below.
Bel-Air‘s second season starts after the first season’s cliffhanger as Will (Banks) continues his journey of self-discovery. According to the description:
Season two of Bel-Air picks up with Will at a crossroads as a new figure comes into his life who challenges what he’s learned in Bel-Air and competes for control of his influence. He juggles this while navigating his home life with the Banks family and trying to rebuild the trust that was broken at the end of last season. We’ll see Will and Carlton’s brotherhood start to evolve as they grow closer, but still challenge each other about their differences. We’ll also see Hilary evolve as she becomes more of a boss in her influencer world and how that spills over into her relationship with Jazz, and also highlight the relatable struggles around Viv and Phil balancing marriage and family while trying to forge their own career paths and reconnect to the things that are important to them.