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Meet the Fresh Prince’s Royal Court – Black Girl Nerds


Meet the Fresh Prince’s Royal Court – Black Girl Nerds

On February 13, 2022, get ready to have a little Philly added to your life. This time, instead of superstar Will Smith telling a comedic fish-out-of-water story, we’ll be introduced to newcomer Jabari Banks as a troubled young man trying to make his way in Peacock’s Bel-Air. While the West Coast may protect Will from gun violence and street fights, it only heightens the pressures of trying to fit into a community that doesn’t see you.

I had the chance to visit the Bel-Air set and talk with the stars who will bring this story to life. 

Jabari Banks (Will)

On why this story matters to him 

“I just really focused on being me and staying true to what I know and how I grew up. I lived with my uncle in Philly. [Fresh Prince] has been a huge influence on me in my life and how I grew up and the way I approached my work. One of my first memories was Fresh Prince, and it was one of the shows that I recognized what entertainment was. I had no industry experience. So it’s great to have this opportunity to just be me in front of the camera. I think it’s why they chose me! In the log line they say, ‘This is Will Smith. His name is Will Smith, but this isn’t the Will Smith superstar.’ This is somebody totally different, but gives that same feeling, and I just lean into that.”

Olly Shootan (Carlton Banks)

On finding the angst in Carlton

“I’m totally stealing this from Cassie [Freeman who plays Aunt Viv], but if the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was the story from Will’s perspective, this version is the story as if you’re reading each and every character’s diaries. The Carlton that we see is a 16-year-old kid who is trying to navigate his place in the world. He has a lot of pressure to do great and as well as his father, if not better than his father. I’m a child of immigrants, I’m a first-generation American, so a lot of my approach to the character was taking my understanding of my growing up and putting it into Carlton. How I relate to success, how I relate to ambition, how I relate to the idea of doing better than the generation…

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