Will Smith and HBO finally brought the entire cast together for a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion which did so much more than entertain fans. He and his former co-star Janet Hubert were able to finally bury the hatchet and move forward after some very painful heart to hearts.
Will Smith and Janet Hubert Reunite
During the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion special, Will Smith and his first "Aunt Viv" met up face to face and hashed out their decades-long feud. The two famously clashed on set leading to Hubert being let go from the series and struggling to find work again. Bubbly and fun Daphne Maxwell-Reid ended up taking over her role of "Aunt Viv" for the entire rest of the series.
The day before the whole cast reunited, Will meet one on one with Janet and the two were brutally honest about what happened. Hubert told Will, "They said it was you who banished me because I didn't laugh at your jokes. They ordered me to say in my room, I couldn't come out on the stage."
She explained that she was having personal troubles at home that were affecting her work life, "I wasn't unprofessional on the set. I just stopped talking to anybody because I didn't know who to trust."
The two were very outspoken about their dislike for each other after the series ended in 1996. Janet told Will, "You know those words, calling a Black woman 'difficult' in Hollywood, that's the kiss of death. It's hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in the business. Then 'Angry Black woman' was all I got after."
After the two apologized to each other, Will sat down on his wife's show Red Table Talk with psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula to reflect on his past self and what he learned from Janet.
Only 21-years-old at the time, Will did not realize how his own personal life was also affecting his perception of his Hollywood relationships. He explained, "My father was violent in my house. So a part of the whole creation of Will Smith, the joking, fun, sill, was to make sure my father was entertained enough not to hurt my mother or anybody in the house."
As a young man, he didn't realize he applied the same feelings he had in his real family to his TV "Banks/Smith" family. "The little boy in my level, with Hubert, I needed Mommy to think I was great. And when I realized she didn't, my dragon woke up."
"I didn't realize the power of my words and went way too far." Janet recounted the endless abuse from the media, neighbors, and her community that both she and her son experienced over the years because Will was such an icon in the Black community. She even mentioned a moment where someone smashed a cookie in her son's face because his mom was "a bi***" to Will Smith.
These stories visibly affected Will who was shaking with tears in his eyes: "The person I wanna be is someone who protects you, not someone who unleashes dog on you... I could not do a 30-year celebration of this show and not celebrate you, celebrate your contribution, celebrate your contribution to my life." Both apologized to each other in tears and even joked about how they are still "baby Will" and "Aunt Viv."
Will became very emotional on Red Table Talk when he explained, "I'm not arrogant enough to think my actions and behavior were perfect. My actions and behavior were flawed and hurtful. Probably there's nobody on Earth who'd say I hurt them that bad."
Will's self-reflection was impressive and serves as a great example for his fans around the world.