On Sept. 10, 1990, one of the funniest African-American sitcoms was born. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, a Will Smith and Quincy Jones collaboration, aired on NBC kicking off six seasons, featuring 148 episodes of classic family fun.
The show was based around popular ‘80s rapper Will Smith, who played a fictional character of himself as a street smart teen from a rough West Philadelphia ‘hood. Smith moved from Philly to live with his wealthy Aunt Vivian and Uncle Phil, cousins Ashley, Carlton and Hilary, and the family butler, Geoffery, in their Bel-Air, California, mansion.
On the show Smith and actors Tatyana Ali (Ashley), Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton), Dj Jazzy Jeff, Will’s broke best friend, and Karyn Parsons (Hilary) tackled issues involving bullying, racism, teen sex and relationships. Throughout Fresh Prince’s six season run, it was also a platform for other rising Black actors/actresses such as Nia Long, Tyra Banks and Jada Pinkett-Smith.
Although the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air stopped taping on May 20, 1996, the sitcom continues to be an American and international classic. The show was released for syndication in 1994 and has appeared on Nick at Nite, ABC, the Comedy Network and MTV, and on networks in Australia and the U.K.
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