The Biggest Advice Will Smith Gave To The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Reboot’s Lead Star

Jabari Banks in the teaser for Bel-Air.
(Image credit: Peacock)

The wait for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot, Bel-Air, is finally over, as the highly anticipated revamp is officially available to stream. The series, which follows the familiar storyline of a West Philly teen moving to California, has a new star in the form of Jabari Banks. And as it turns out, ahead of the premiere, Will Smith gave his Fresh Prince successor some wise advice.

Jabari Banks talked to ET all about his new role, and how Will Smith was there for almost every step of the way. Banks, who makes his acting debut with Bel-Air, explained how his hero has been giving guiding him through the process. And apparently, the biggest point the veteran star dished out was as simple, yet crucial:

He’s given me a lot of advice on how to go about this career in general. The biggest thing I think he would say for this role is just to be myself. Because that’s what he was doing up there as the Fresh Prince in the original series that we all know and love. He was just being himself.

It’s not easy stepping into the shoes of such an iconic actor, especially when one has played such a well-known and beloved role. However, it seems the fact that having Will Smith's full support was invaluable for Jabari Banks. The up-and-coming actor also recalled how Smith was the one to tell him he'd landed the role, which was a special moment that many got to see. Banks ultimately took Smith’s advice to heart, and he's certainly grateful for his support and the job itself:

He wasn’t trying to be anybody else. So that was the biggest surprise for me was just to lean into my instincts, lean into my upbringing, remember who I am and be authentically me on camera. I’m so blessed to have this opportunity to do that in front of the world and to take on these shoes.

It's safe to assume the star put his mentor's advice to good use, and his past comments seem to back up that theory. The newcomer previously opened up on how he’s giving the character of Will a fresh take by, as he was advised, being himself. 

The original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired six seasons from 1990 to 1996. It’s a beloved comedy that many people still love, so it was not surprise that its popularity spawned a revamp. Amid the development of the new show though, the cast got together for a reunion special in 2020, which aired on HBO Max. Not only did it provide plenty of laughs, but it also showed off the true bond amongst the co-stars.  With so much love for the franchise, let's hope a new generation will fall in love with Jabari Banks’ Will Smith the same way they did the original all those years ago.

Bel-Air is currently streaming now on Peacock, with new episodes dropping weekly! Be sure to check out everything there is to know about the streamer's Premium subscription to get the best of it. And refer to CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule for more on other shows that will be hitting the service this year.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.