There’s been a lot of hype about the Friends reunion coming …eventually… on HBO Max. I don’t know that I’m all that excited about it, like excited enough to get a subscription. I am, however, very excited about the Fresh Prince of Bel -Air reunion. Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the premiere and Will Smith shared a photo with the cast, teasing a Banks Family Reunion, while remembering James Avery who played Uncle Phil.
And another photo, the second in the carousel, of him with Janet Hubert, the OG Aunt Viv!
HBO Max confirmed that Will and Janet sat down for a proper chat for the first time in 27 years. Obviously they’ll be sharing parts of that conversation during the reunion. And while she’s not part of the group shot, I wonder whether or not they’re saving it for when the special airs? Regardless, this is a big deal. Because … 27 years!
Janet has had a lot to say about Will and the show in that time. One of the reasons they fell out and she left the show after three seasons is because, according to her, when it came time to renegotiate salaries, Will was all for himself and didn’t pull up with his influence to make sure everyone else got paid. At the time, he said that she wanted to make it the Aunt Viv show – in other words, he told people her ego took over and she thought she was the sh-t.
That kind of narrative read a certain way 20 years ago, less favourably to Janet, and so many women, at least publicly, but our perspective now, in 2020, has evolved. Her position, that Will could have used his power to help everyone else get theirs from the network, is fair – and it’s about the collective. But that’s part of the conditioning from the status quo: if you tell people how much money you’re getting, if you talk to your peers about money, they’ll come after your money. This is how they’ve always silenced people. To protect themselves. Because Janet wouldn’t be coming after Will’s money. It would be the network paying her the money. It’s the network saving money, the company, the institutions, always holding onto the money by making people, even people as famous as Will Smith, think that they’d be compromising themselves if they talked about money with their colleagues. That’s the kind of bullsh-t that we are only just starting to dismantle. And I wonder whether or not Will is seeing it through a different lens now.
The Fresh Prince reunion is happening at US Thanksgiving. A perfect time for it.