In the near quarter century since The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air first premiered on TV, we hold these five truths to be self-evident:
1. The show saved Will Smith’s life (financially, at least). Will being in serious debt – to the tune of $2.8M in back taxes – is the critical reason the rapper-turned-actor agreed to take part in the Quincy Jones-inspired idea. “For the first three years of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the IRS was taking 70 percent of every check and after the third year I got back to zero,” he explained to 60 Minutes. “It’s terrible to have that kind of success and have to quietly be broke.”
2. Despite rumors of tension, every character was casted in the absolute perfect role. Their natural chemistry is a vital component why the show has elevated to iconic status over the years. The show’s influence has reached all parts of the globe, including perhaps the unlikeliest of corners – with the prisoners of Guantanamo Bay – where all six seasons of Fresh Prince have superseded Harry Potter as the ideal relaxation escape for the world’s most dangerous criminals.
3. Will’s collection of Jordans was impeccable.
4. Carlton was the funniest character. Geoffrey had the best one-liners.
5. Maybe it was the high-top fade, but some of the ’90s most beautiful and famous Black women made cameos on the show.
It’s the fifth point why we’re all gathered here. Over the next handful of slides, a healthy list of lovely (and famous) ladies who graced the famed Banks Mansion living room are given their proper due. Each commanded Will’s attention in some aspect, and to my knowledge, no comprehensive collection of their talents exists on the Internet…until now.
Consider it my gift to the world long after I’m gone. The Sistine Chapel, in a sense.
Photos: Getty, Twitter