We’ve covered the Janet Hubert/Will Smith/”Fresh Prince of Bel Air” controversy before, so I won’t even bother rehashing the entire fiasco. It’s old news that just won’t die; the gift that keeps on giving, for some.
I think we are all somewhat familiar with the public battle between Hubert, Will Smith and NBC that led to the recasting of the role of Aunt Vivian, in “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s” fourth season, in the mid-1990s, and all the drama that’s since followed.
Based on your comments on this site, as well as those I’ve read elsewhere, many of you seem to believe that Ms Hubert’s “bitterness” isn’t warranted, and that she should put the entire period behind her and move on with her life. Others argue that she has moved on with her life, but she’s continuously being asked by the press to revisit that period of her life, 20+ years later, and address what caused the rift that would eventually lead to her ousting from the immensely popular TV series.
For a moment, it appeared that maybe Hubert and Smith would reconcile after the veteran actress actually made a plea to Will Smith via an interview with The Griot in 2013, during which Hubert suggested that she and Will get together and end their then 21-year cold war – a war that I’d say has been mostly one-sided, because Will Smith has been mostly silent on the matter.
Hubert also said during that interview that, if asked, she would indeed agree to a “Fresh Prince” reunion, if there ever was one, which was very contrary to what she’d said in the past.
She said she was tired and essentially wanted to mend fences. One supposes you get to a point when it all just seems pointless to carry on as is, especially after so long, and you become sick of it, and want to move on amicably, if possible.
But, again, Will Smith has been mostly silent about the entire incident, and it’s not clear that he has ever responded directly to any of Hubert’s public assertions and attacks, seemingly choosing to ignore than to address.
At the time, it seemed like just maybe the healing would begin, and Will just might accept Hubert’s proposal, after which the two would meet privately, and resolve their conflict.
But nahhh! That didn’t happen, and it wasn’t long after that when Hubert resumed her attempts to shame Smith and family publicly.
It was just a year ago when she slammed Will and Jada Pinkett Smith over their announced 2016 Oscars boycott seemingly in sympathy with the #OscarsSoWhite movement.
“I’ve been trying to figure out: Do I really want to do this? Yeah, I do,” Hubert shared in a four-minute YouTube clip on her channel in January 2016. “Today, being the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday and hitting 60 years old… I want to say something to Jada Pinkett Smith asking other black actors to boycott the Oscars. First of all, Miss Thing: Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?”
She was of course referencing Will Smith not being nominated for an Oscar for his performance in “Concussion” (although, let’s face it, he didn’t deserve a nomination for the role).
She went on: “The second thing, girlfriend, there’s a lot of shit 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 hungry. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills… And you’re talking about some motherfucking actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep… Here’s the other thing, for you to ask other actors to jeopardize their careers… You know damn well, you don’t do that… They don’t care! I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people [who are doing this]… That is not the way life works, baby. It’s very suspect to me.”
And on and on she went, but you get the picture.
So it probably will surprise absolutely no one that Hubert responded to a recent photo of the original “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” cast (minus Hubert, but included Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played Aunt Viv after Hubert left the show) that went viral over the last 24 hours.
The photo was shared by Alfonso Ribeiro (who played Carlton in the series) on his Instagram page yesterday, 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.”
No mention of Hubert at all as part of his “Fresh Prince family,” as he put it. Along with Ribeiro in the photo are Tatyana Ali (Ashley), Karyn Parsons (Hilary), Will Smith (Will), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), and the aforementioned Daphne Maxwell Reid. The cast had reunited for Parsons’ charity, by the way.
It didn’t take long for Hubert to reply – via her Facebook page – with the following: “I know the media hoe Alphonso Ribero has posted his so called reunion photo. Folks keep telling me about it. He was always the ass wipe for Will. There will never be a true reunion of the Fresh Prince. I have no interest in seeing any of these people on that kind of level. I am not offended in the least, by this photo… it was an event for Karen’s charity. It does however prompt me to take some meetings in Hollywood to pitch my memoir PERFECTION IS NOT A SITCOM MOM, and tell of the behind the scenes story before I leave this earth.”
Notice that she also used this as an opportunity to plug her memoir which just may become a TV series of its own, should her Hollywood meetings go well. As an aside, this reminds me of VH1’s upcoming serial adaptation of Star Jones’ novel “Satan’s Sisters,” which is said to be a satire of the real-life TV show that Jones once hosted – “The View”- and follows the antics at a long-running popular ladies talk show where alliances are forged, careers are made and bridges are burned. Maybe Hubert’s tell-all can be pitched in a similar way… maybe not. But it seems like something VH1 might be interested in.
By the way, “Perfection Is Not a Sitcom Mom” was published in 2009. Its description (via Amazon) reads: “From the hardscrabble streets of Chicago’s south side to the famed Juilliard school to the bright lights of Broadway, I thought I had seen it all. There were crack dealers, understudies who’d put needles in your dance shoes, and backstage cat fights with some of the theatre’s most brilliant divas. But through it all I not only survived, I thrived. Then came the chance to become a sitcom mom on what would become one of the most successful TV sitcoms of the 90s, THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL AIR. Sounds like the perfect script for the perfect Hollywood ending, right? Well not exactly So you want to be a star? Have a read and you just might change your mind. I invite you to read my personal journey, I hope it will inspire you the reader to always remain true to your name.”
So there you have it!
If you’ve read it, enlighten those of us who haven’t…