The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion is finally here, bringing together the cast of the classic ’90s sitcom for an hour of reminiscing, catching up and looking back on the popular series decades later. Will Smith, Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Joseph Marcell (Jeffrey, the butler), and DJ Jazzy Jeff all came back for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special, but what about one of the show’s most beloved character, Aunt Viv? Since she was split between two actresses, who came back for the special?
Well, it turns out that both Aunt Vivs were in attendance. Daphne Maxwell Reid, who played the character from 1993-1996, and Janet Hubert, who held the role between 1990 and 1996, both turned up for the reunion. Although Hubert has been openly critical about both Smith and Fresh Prince in the past — even saying in 2011, “there will never be a reunion” and previously calling Smith an “egomaniac” per Entertainment Weekly — she put the past behind her and joined Smith for “an emotional reunion and a candid conversation,” as described by HBO Max, where the reunion premiered today.
During the reunion, Hubert told Smith that she was in an abusive marriage while filming Fresh Prince and that the cast “had no idea what was going on.” Smith apologized and admitted that he was not “sensitive” to her needs at the time, per Vulture. When she left the show, Hubert told Smith that her she was labeled “difficult.” “I lost everything. Reputation. Everything. Everything,” she said. “And I understand you were able to move forward but you know 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.”
After their heartfelt conversation, Hubert tweeted her thanks to Smith for having her on the reunion, writing last night, “My heart is so full right now… Will you have freed me from this prison. Thank you!”
The Fresh Prince reunion also marked the first time the two Aunt Viv actresses met. After decades, Hubert and Reid were finally in the same room together. “Seeing them meet for the first time and embrace was the most incredible thing,” Parsons said. DJ Jazzy Jeff added, “That was chilling. That was a dream come true, that was a full circle moment.”
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special is now streaming on HBO Max.
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