Panelists Discuss ‘Bel-Air’ and The Breadth of Blackness

To celebrate the Peacock series premiere of 'Bel-Air' several distinguished guests discussed the nuance and breadth of what it means to Black in America.

There’s more than one way to be Black and that diversity is explored in Peacock’s new scripted series, Bel-Air. A reimagining of the beloved ’90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the show takes a deeper look at the nuance of the Black community by placing a spotlight on the diversity of the prestigious Banks family.

To celebrate the show’s three-episode premiere last month, fans were invited to a day party at the famed Bel-Air mansion where host Pierce Simpson spoke with a panel of distinguished guests about the breadth of Blackness

“Growing up in Chocolate City was everything,” says on-air journalist and DC native Gia Peppers. “Growing up, I saw the gamut of the full Black experience—from folks who used to wash my mommy’s car outside on Florida Avenue in Northeast to her best friends who were lawyers and doctors and dentists.”

Former Stockton, Calif. Mayor Michael Tubbs noted that in the retelling of the classic show, which starred a young Will Smith plucked from his Philly neighborhood to Bel-Air, the differences in environment are more pronounced, but Will’s character is still the same.

“Will is the same person,” Tubbs says. “He doesn’t become a different person when he moves to a place where it’s safe. I think it really goes to show that talent and intellect are universal, across all people, particularly Black people, resources sometimes are not.”

Author, activist, and Temple University professor Marc Lamont Hill rounds out the panel and has a poignant response to those who allege Bel-Air is “too woke.” Watch the video above to see the full panel and be sure to stream new episodes of Bel-Air every Thursday on Peacock.

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