The entire surviving cast of Will Smith’s beloved ’90s sitcom ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ came together for a reunion special to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its premiere.
In the reunion, cast members noted how hard they worked to ensure that the show, despite being staffed with white writers, reflected a strong Black culture base.
Tatyana Ali, who portrayed Ashley Banks- one of the four Banks children- said the reunion had surprises not only for viewers, but for the cast as well.
“We have seen each other over the years, in different occasions…but this occasion– we were able to all gather at the same place at the same time, and it was so joyous to be able to re-embrace the situation, as well as each other,” said Daphne Maxwell Reid who played the second Aunt Vivian.
The original Aunt Vivian, played by actress Janet Hubert, also joined the cast for the special despite her controversial departure from the show before the start of its fourth season.
“We never spoke about the first Aunt Vivian while I was working,” Reid said. “I would ask a question about what happened, and they said, ‘We won’t talk about that.'”
In response to the transition of TV moms, Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey Butler, said: “There was no time to look back, to compare, to wish for something else. This was Aunt Viv.”
Ali said the cast made it their goal to ensure Reid was comfortable, “so she could do her thing.”
Reid remembers feeling the love from her new TV family. “I took that space and I felt the warm hug of being there and all I could give them was love and what I had,” she said.
“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” went on for six seasons until its final episode in 1996. It is considered one of the best sitcoms of all time.