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Janet Hubert To Will Smith: 'I'm Tired. Let's Come Together And End This 21-Year Saga'

by Tambay A. Obenson
March 29, 2013 6:00 PM
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Janet Hubert

We've covered the Janet Hubert/Will Smith/Fresh Prince of Bel Air controversy before, so I won't even bother rehashing. I think we are all somewhat familiar with the public battle between Janet HubertWill Smith and NBC, that led to the recasting of the role of Aunt Vivian, in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air's fourth season, in the mid-1990s, and all the drama that's since followed.

Based on your comments on this site, as well as those I've read elsewhere, many of you seem to believe that Ms Hubert's *bitterness* (not my words) isn't warranted, and that she should put the entire period behind her, and move on with her life. Others argue that she has moved on with her life, but she's continuously being asked by the press to revisit that period in her life, 20+ years later, and address what caused the rift that would eventually lead to her ousting from the immensely popular TV series.

Well, Hubert was asked again to discuss the Will Smith/Fresh Prince fiasco one more time by Chris Witherspoon at NBC's The Griot, in a new interview which was posted on their website this afternoon. Expecting more of the same venom as we've heard in past interviews with her, I was surprised that her tone was, still stern, but not as, shall we say, *salty* as it's been in the past. She actually makes a plea to Will Smith that they, as the title of this post states, come together and end their 21-year cold war - a war that I'd say has been one-sided, because Will Smith has been mostly silent on the matter.

Hubert further says that, if asked, she would indeed agree to a Fresh Prince reunion, if there ever is one, which is contrary to what she's said in the past - that she'd "... never do anything with an asshole like Will Smith... He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up. This constant reunion thing will never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn't know the word."

A change of heart, I suppose. 

Although, as she said, she's tired, which I think I can understand. You get to a point where it all just seems pointless to carry on as is, especially after so long, and you just become sick of it, and want to move on amicably, if possible.

But, as I said, Will Smith has been mostly silent about the entire incident, and I don't believe has ever responded to any of Hubert's public assertions and attacks, seemingly choosing to ignore than to address.

But maybe this is where the healing begins, and Will just might accept Hubert's proposal, they two will meet privately, and squash this once and for all!

Or maybe not...

But at least, as I said, she's made the first step. Let's see what happens next.

Here's the interview with The Griot:

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  • DeeDee | May 10, 2013 11:49 PMReply

    Will Smith was like 20 during this time and is now well into his 40's!! Of course he was obnoxious as any kid from the projects who shot to fame at that age would be!! But I am SURE in the 21 years that have passed he has matured, humbled, etc..I mean seriously Janet..he was basically a kid during that time..And HE is not feuding..I don't think I have ever heard him mention Janet's name!! Its time to pray about it and LET IT GO!!

  • Danielle L | May 4, 2013 8:14 PMReply

    Sorry but I didn't like her character in Fresh Prince. Maybe her real-life personality was coming through? She seemed hostile and angry. The replacement Aunt Viv was much more mellow. I doubt Will Smith wants to have any interaction with a woman who has continuously slammed him for 20 years in interviews and in a book she wrote, made unkind remarks about his career, music, and children, sued him (she lost) and called him an a*hole less than a year ago. She is apparently not a very nice person. I don't blame him for keeping his distance... it's a wise decision. Don't go near a hornet's nest if you've already been stung and don't want to be again.

  • Truth | March 30, 2013 1:46 PMReply

    The only reason this so-called "olive branch" was given is because she made an ass of herself on the internet and now she wants to clean it up. Most weren't feeling her temper tantrum and now, a week later, she gets the message. So now she's trying to act like she is over it and wants to put the responsibility on Will Smith to make it right. Typical diva not taking responsibility for her actions horse shit. Not fooled. Sorry.

  • Jenn | April 1, 2013 11:48 AM

    I wish I could "star" this comment.

  • ALM | March 30, 2013 1:26 PMReply

    It's good to hear her in her own words live. It's one thing to read a letter without emotion behind it, but it's another thing to hear her speaking the words live.

    For those who keep insisting that she thought she was the star of the show, notice in the video that she says that she was a very integral PART of the show. Ms. Hubert knew that the show was an ensemble cast.

    This woman attended Julliard. I believe every word of her conversation regarding professionalism. She is a classically trained dancer. Why is it so difficult for 80% of the people online to believe that a 30 something grown woman would have differences with an 18/19 year old with a lot of money and big ego?

    You want me to believe that you all have never wanted to knock some of these teenagers out?

    Janet also had a theater background. Will was a random teenager who was blessed with a starring role based on his music popularity. How is this scenario any different from professional actors such as Samuel L. Jackson who complain about rappers such as 50 cent booking acting roles that Sam Jackson thinks should be reserved for professional actors? There are parallels between this situation and the Sam Jackson one. Janet had a level of respect for the craft that Will had not yet developed due to his age and lack of acting experience.

    A mature adult is able to apologize.

    At the end of the day, even her detractors must admit that she SLAYED the role of Aunt Viv. Her talent is why this conversation keeps coming up. She doesn't keep bringing this up, other people i.e. the fans, Wendy Williams, the media do. She has every right to address this since people won't let this go.

    Watch the video, she admits that EVERYONE on the cast was amazing. She says that "we were the best". A bitter person doesn't say that. Janet has extended the olive branch, and now the ball is in Will's court.

  • LOL | April 1, 2013 2:03 AM

    Good actress, horrible personality, no career. Fight for her all you want cuz the game is over.

  • ALM | March 30, 2013 8:23 PM

    Oh Please: Alfonso, thanks for skipping over most of my points, since there is so much truth in my posts.

    Have a great day, and don't forget your nap. :)

  • Oh Please! | March 30, 2013 6:22 PM

    That radio interview was Will laughing about how she made an ass of herself. So what! She did! All the cast have said she was difficult. SHE even said she helped with the tension on the TVOne UNSUNG episode.

    So save your apologist bullshit. lol

  • ALM | March 30, 2013 6:05 PM

    @ Oh Please: Alfonso, is that you? Janet said that you lied on her too.

    I love how you implore me to "get the facts straight", when you weren't there when this happened either.

    Your comment is your opinion just as much as my comment is my opinion.

    80% of the people online are jumping on her, and they weren't there. The other 20% of us have every right to defend her.

    By the way, you missed some facts yourself.

    1. This is not the first time that Wendy has brought this up. There is a history there. Utilize your google search functions

    2. It has been reported that Will has made unflattering statements about her on the radio, specifically when this all first happened.

    3. The blacklisting part is not hard to believe. Her career post "FPOB" speaks for itself. I can recall seeing her in one or two commercials and on two or three episodes of "Friends" playing Chandler's boss. If someone spreads ugly rumors about you, other people will often believe them. Even if there is little to no proof of them. It's hard enough out here for actors of color, particularly women. These networks and studios love having any old excuse to not hire someone, no matter how talented that person is. Once again, corporate America is similar in this regard.

    To Oh Please: You seem overly upset about this. Get yourself a nap, chile

  • Akimbo | March 30, 2013 3:41 PM

    I don't understand how being a classically trained performer makes it less likely that Janet's own ego wasn't an integral part of the Fresh Prince drama. I grew up in the theatre and the egos, pettiness, and scandal can be crazy. I hear people with training bitch about those without all the time, complain about losing out to singers, models, and untalented folk regularly, and generally parade around like they're the deepest artists on the planet. I've heard S. Epatha Merkerson herself admit that her being a too-good-for-this theater diva has often hurt her and she's been smacked back down to earth many a time. All this is not to malign my theatre community, but to place blame squarely on Smith's shoulders, considering Janet's behavior and considering the fact that she's the only person in the guy's 20 year career to have such public beef with the guy, is ridiculous. Look at how many established and trained actors crossed that set, look at how many respected AHctors recurred (Jenifer Lewis, Charlayne Woodard, Virginia Capers, Brian Stokes Mitchell) no one else seemed to have issues. There's just no juice left in the Janet as a victim storyline. And the idea that Smith had her blacklisted? He did not and still does not have that kind of power. A more likely story is that the town discovered/heard how difficult she was and opted to cast equally talented, but more pleasant actresses.

  • Bee | March 30, 2013 3:21 PM

    "Why is it so difficult for 80% of the people online to believe that a 30 something grown woman would have differences with an 18/19 year old with a lot of money and big ego? You want me to believe that you all have never wanted to knock some of these teenagers out?" Bingo! Exactly. And, as you said, she is not making this just about her. She made it a point to say (twice I believe in this video) that "we were the best." People are just hating like they do every time a black woman (or black man, sometimes) expresses her emotions and heartfelt opinions on an issue and says something that goes contrary to their way of seeing things (e.g. the way people responded to Spike Lee's comments on Django).

  • Oh Please! | March 30, 2013 1:37 PM

    Janet brought this all up because Wendy Williams asked a simple question to Tatyana Ali about what happened. Then Janet went off like an attention starved child and now the ball is in "Will's court?" Bullshit!

    Will doesn't owe her shit! It was 20 damn years ago. Do you honestly believe Will gives a f%$#? She showed shade to the cast, through her own admission. She blamed it on her being pregnant. When they got tired of her DIVA bullshit, they fired her ass. End of story. Happens all the time to regular folk who bust their ass everyday. We are supposed to cry tears for Ms. Hubert? lol

    Now she STILL mad.

    You Hubert apologists slay me with the excuse making and then expecting Will to cater to her bullshit.

    I hope he gives her crazy ass the middle finger and keeps steppin...oh wait, he did that already, that's why this old lady is still mad and hollering about some 1994 BS.

    If you're gonna make excuses for unprofessionalism, get the damn facts at least first!

  • Jalinda | March 29, 2013 10:27 PMReply

    I wouldn't get near tis woman! She's good and crazy! And Bee... what's so classy about her letter? Are you kidding?

  • Anti-believer | March 29, 2013 9:07 PMReply

    If I was Will, I'd say HELL NO! What is there to talk about? I've moved on the day you left my sight on set. I'm living my life. Doing movies, got married to female, had more kids and got my bf.... LIFE IS SWEET!

  • JP | March 29, 2013 10:27 PM

    LOL! Snuck that last little bit of shade in there. Kudos ;)

  • Bee | March 29, 2013 8:47 PMReply

    I don't care what anybody says, I love Janet Hubert. I love her directness, her sass, and her general beauty. She is one classy black woman, imo, and I don't think she's upset for all this time about nothing. I think Will had a lot to do with why she ended up leaving the show, and I think his arrogance will never allow him to make amends with this woman. Anyway, I should also add: does she look a little (and maybe even act a little) like Whitney Houston to any of you folks? I've always thought they resembled and had similar mannerism and attitudes.

  • Bee | March 30, 2013 3:18 PM

    @Alm: You are dead right. Things like that happen everyday in the corporate and non-Hollywood work world generally. @Akimbo: I forgot about that Whitney-Wendy interview. You are so right!

  • ALM | March 30, 2013 1:28 PM

    @ Bee. I agree with you that she is amazingly talented. Why do people online find it so hard that she was punished for not playing "the game"? Things like this don't just happen in Hollywood, they also happen everyday in corporate America.

  • Akimbo | March 30, 2013 12:29 PM

    Yes, she does have a Whitneyesque quality about her. No facial resemblance, but physically and in character they share some qualities. Listen to Whitney murdering Wendy Williams in their infamous interview, them listen to Janet reading that letter to her, you might be struck by how simar they sound.

  • TAZ | March 30, 2013 1:03 AM

    Nooooo, methinks you love Janet a little to much.

  • jenn | March 29, 2013 6:24 PMReply

    This is the story all about how, Will, your life could turn upside down,
    So you better make yourself scarce 'cause I think it's true,
    there's a crazy lady out there looking for you....

  • Yalanda Lattimore, | March 29, 2013 6:05 PMReply

    Sometimes I wonder, if unresolved issues between he and Hubert are part of the reasons Will Smith slowly allowed black women to vanish from his movies. Clearly from her continued accounts of the issue - trauma last always and is timeless.

  • Cyril | April 1, 2013 4:13 AM

    Hey Yalanda, you raised an interesting point there- now you got me thinking- since Independence Day and Bad Boys, has Will ever had a black wife/girlfriend/love interest in any of his blockbusters??? Hmmmmm

  • CYRIL | April 1, 2013 4:11 AM

    MUSE: So I guess if it was al left to you, we should just bury our heads in the sand and die! So Smith can have clout to have this woman fired from the show but not clout to dictate on his cast in the films he stars in? isn't that sorta deplorable, if truly that's what happens in his world? I thought we were past that "Yessir man" stage as a people? Isn't that the kind of power and control he should be fighting for while making millions for those people? Makes me wonder if 20 years ago when he saw that miss Janet was the only one bold enough to stand up to him, he ran crying to Massah! Pitiful!

  • Welp | March 30, 2013 12:49 AM

    Yeah, that's a HUGE stretch, Yalanda. Muse is right.

  • Welp | March 30, 2013 12:48 AM

    Yeah, that's a HUGE stretch, Yalanda. Muse is right.

  • Muse | March 29, 2013 7:28 PM

    Smith may have some clout, but he doesn't make the final call when it comes to casting. A lot of the people who greenlight big-budget films have this ludicrous idea that films can only have crossover success when there is one black lead actor paired with a non-black lead, rather than a black male lead AND black female lead. If there are two black lead actors of opposite sex, the film is automatically pigeonholed (by gatekeepers and unenlightened viewers alike) as a "black" film.

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