So you still remember the 90s sitcom the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith. Back when I watched it, that was for laughs and giggles on ZBC TV and we used to record episodes on VHS cassettes to watch them over and over.
Recently “they” did that thing again where they take a “classic” and reboot it. The reboot series Bel Air is currently running on Peacock, stay peeled for my review, but this post isn’t about Bel-Air….
…In the meantime, we take a trip back to The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. It’s only recently, upon looking back at the series that I realised that beneath the veneer of humour and laughter, it tackled and raised awareness over some deep themes like inequality, abandonment, police brutality, racism and sexism. In my defence, I was young and still growing. I probably would barely remember the series, if it wasn’t that we used to tape and rewatch the episodes.
Nothing however is as crazy as the theory going around first raised on Twitter by Michael Harriot that the sitcom was actually about DRUGS!!!! Hold on, before you start going no it wasn’t….. think about it.
Remember the opening credits and the catchy jingle which went like:
Now, this is a story all about how My life got flipped-turned upside down And I'd like to take a minute Just sit right there I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air In West Philadelphia born and raised On the playground was where I spent most of my days Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin', all cool And all shootin' some b-ball outside of the school When a couple of guys who were up to no good Started making trouble in my neighbourhood I got in one little fight and my mom got scared She said, "You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air"
So the “couple of guys who were up to no good” who were making trouble in the neighbourhood…, ever thought of what kind of trouble they were cooking up? They certainly were not baking bread.
On the playground was where he spent most of my days chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool…. What do you suppose them boys were doing with The Fresh Prince, that was his turf, for those who wanted a little something something, you feel me?
Then when you consider the “one little fight” which got the mom so scared that she shipped her son to his auntie and uncle in Bel-Air…. What was that all about? What if I put it to you that it was a fight about drugs, a turf war.
See, Will was a foot soldier, slinging dope in the mean streets of West Philly and when he started making serious paper, the competition decided to “take him out”. That “little fight” was actually supposed to be a hit. However, the police intervened, see, as it was part of a sting operation, they had been watching Will closely, waiting for him to lead them to the drug kingpin.
Anywho, while Will was assisting the police with investigations, his mum called up Uncle Phil in Bel-Air who was a big shot lawyer to bail out his nephew, because helllo family. Uncle Phil then swept in and rescued young Will from the clutches of crime and time and flipped-turned his life upside down.
But that wasn’t all, the DEA had been squeezing Will for information and they wanted Will’s supplier…. And who…wait for it…. was Uncle Phil. The DEA then cut a deal with Will to give them Uncle Phil in exchange for not doing time.
The DEA had been keeping tabs on good ol’ Uncle Phil, but he was much too clever and never got his hands dirty, so, there had been no evidence to link up the big baller in Bel Air with the drugs that were flooding West Philly… until now; now they had Will. Will would be the state witness. Moving to Bel Air was part of operation takedown Uncle Phil.
For years they had been trying to find someone who could get close to Uncle Phil and their man on the ground was a federal agent who just could never get Uncle Phil to warm up to him, but he would serve as Will’s handler and that was the role Jazzy Jeff played. He dropped by to debrief Will and keep an eye on Uncle Phil who kind of suspected something wasn’t right with him which is why he always threw him out of the house!!!!
The Butler Geoffery was The Fixer for the Banks family, he laundered their drug money, handled things that needed handling like how Phil’s opponents in the judiciary mysteriously died or retired and occasionally threw Jazz out the front door.
Also, who do you think killed Aunt Viv?
Wait… You do know Aunt Viv was murdered then replaced right?
And a final plot twist, what if Will wasn’t undercover but a double agent, what if Will had told Uncle Phil and the Banks everything because actually the drugs were being supplied by the CIA as part of their secret project to supply South Carolina with crack cocaine… Thus now they had leverage against the state and country.
And that’s how he became The Prince of a town called Bel-Air.