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Is BelAir Based on a True Story?

Developed by Will Smith and Morgan Cooper BelAir is a drama series about Will Smith Jabari Banks a young man born and raised in West Philly who is forced to move to the BelAir neighborhood of Los Angeles after he is caught with a gun and threatened by a notorious drug dealer. In Bel Air his aunt and her family reside. He will initially get a massive culture shock as life in Bel Air is fundamentally different. He struggles to fit in there while trying to hold on to his inherent identity.

BelAir resonates with the All American vibe but its not an exclusive sports drama like this show. Basketball is an important part of Wills life but Bel Air focuses more on Wills relationship with his aunt uncles and cousins. If the gritty and rooted narrative has made you wonder if its based on a true story weve got you covered. Yes Bel Air is based on a true story.

However this story was dramatized and portrayed fantastically. It is a reboot of the popular 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of BelAir which originally aired from 1990 to 1996 on NBC and is now considered a pop culture phenomenon and one of the most important entries in the annals of black entertainment in America. Talks about a potential restart have been floating around for a while. However Will Smith the star of the original series has long stated that there will only be a reboot when hell freezes over.

His views changed after watching Coopers fanproduced 2019 trailer for an exciting and exciting version of the YouTube sitcom. In Coopers short the shows title was simply Bel Air which the producers decided to call the reboot. There are some differences between the original show and the replay. For example Will is a firstclass studentathlete on BelAir while the lead in The Fresh Prince of BelAir is academically lazy despite being as brilliant as his cousin Carlton. Uncle Phil is younger and more mellow in the reboot while Hilary is influential and Carlton is also a firstclass student athlete.

The issues of race and class that chose the reimagined version to tackle already belong in America in 2020. The original show was based on the life of CEO and talent manager Benny Medina. Developed with his partner Jeff Pollack. Even in the 90s there were many differences between what happened to the city in real life and what was shown on screen. Medina spent his childhood in impoverished East Los Angeles before moving to Beverly Hills to live with the family of a wealthy white friend.

Over the years there have been many TV shows with the premise of black characters coming to live with white families. Medina and his collaborators wanted to do something different so they changed the host family from rich whites to rich blacks. In an interview with Ebony magazine in 1991 Medina explained that this provided them with the opportunity to explore the bias between blacks and blacks as well as black class distinctions.

When Will Smith popular rapper under the name The Fresh Prince appeared on board the show became a fictional version of his life. Wills Cousins was inspired by the daughters of Quincy Jones who was one of the shows executive producers. Meanwhile Carlton is named after Carlton Coss a filmmaker and close friend of the series cocreator Andy Burwitz.

In mid2021 Smith told newcomer Banks that he had been selected to play Will on Bel Air during a video call. The young man congratulated saying You have a wonderful path ahead of you and I look forward to being an asset to you in the process as you build your life and build your career. It is clear that Bel Air was developed from a true story that has been subject to many fantasies.

About Yashwa Malik

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