The “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” is a comedic classic that we’ve come to love, but the 90’s flair has been changed in the new reboot “Bel-Air.” Executive producer Will Smith, and star of the original Fresh Prince, worked with Westbrook Studios to reinvent the show in modern times and uses the show to highlight various issues that the black community and black families face.
In the original Fresh Prince a young man, Will Smith, is forced to move from West Philly to Bel-Air after he got ‘in one little fight’ and ‘his mom got scared’… You know how the famous intro goes. But the original never fully explained why Will needed to move or the back-stories of many of the characters. Now with “Bel-air”, we can finally understand the whole storyline and so much more. “Bel-Air” focuses on the lives of each individual character and follows them on their journey of self discovery and the growth of their family.
One of the biggest differences between the “Fresh Prince” and “Bel-Air” is the tone of the show. In the original sitcom, comedy took the main tone of the show with few episodes having a dramatic or lighthearted tone. Whereas in each new episode of “Bel-Air”, a new issue is highlighted, whether it be racism or classism within the Black community. While also highlighting the character development with each lesson learned, “Bel-Air” also does a great job of incorporating Black culture into the show.
From the selection of background music used to appearances from two of the Divine Nine organizations, “Bel-Air” fully integrates Black culture while simultaneously showcasing the issues associated with being Black. Without spoiling too much in the show, Uncle Phil is running for mayor and is put under a lot of pressure to get the vote of the Black community. But because of his wealth, he is viewed as a “sell out” or a “fraud”; this puts pressure on him and his family to appear as ‘perfect,’ which eventually leads to tension. This is just one example of the many trials and tribulations shown throughout the show.
Overall, if you were a fan of the original “Fresh Prince” I definitely think “Bel-Air” is worth a watch, and even if you never saw the 90’s version, the new reboot did not come to play. Tune in to “Bel-Air” on Peacock with new episodes every Thursday!