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Why Bel-Air Star Coco Jones Thinks Hollywood Is 'Getting Better' At Telling Black Characters' Stories

Coco Jones as Hilary Banks in Bel-Air
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

Bel-Air’s Coco Jones isn’t just an overnight sensation. She’s been in the film and television industry for more than a decade. Despite having some success as a Disney star, like many Black actresses, the road to acceptance hasn’t been easy for her. Now, the success of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot has put the spotlight squarely on her and allowed the actress to open up about her Hollywood experience. She explained why she thinks Hollywood is getting better at telling Black characters’ stories.

To say that Jones has faced a bit of adversity would be an understatement. The actress and singer broke down what happened to her career between her Disney days and the new drama series in a now-viral video. Since then, her music and acting careers have begun to flourish again. The actress divulged to the Jemele Hill is Unbothered podcast that she almost didn’t audition to play Hilary Banks because of her skin tone and perception of Karan Parson’s take. With the reimagining’s success, she now sees the television landscape changing for the better for Black actresses.

Honestly, I do think it's getting better with more the Issa Rae's and the Shonda’s [Rhimes] coming in and creating these opportunities for more women who look like them and [having] those opportunities to create the role. So, it's getting better for sure.

Having Black creators like Issa Rae and Shonda Rhimes take charge of the narrative and create more roles for Black characters is the right direction. Without them, viewers wouldn’t have game-changing series like Insecure, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal. But being a part of a show with an all-Black cast, Coco Jones seemed optimistic about the future of Black characters on television. The Let It Shine actress felt Black producers, creators, and showrunners were key to that future.

I think it just looks like more Black people telling Black stories instead of any other race telling a Black story so that you can people of all shades more.

It isn't just her future that she sees growing bigger and brighter in Hollywood. She wants to see more Black actors and actresses get better roles on television. Jones chose to spotlight Bel-Air creator and producer Morgan Cooper as an example of that change.

We all just deserve more but you know with time more has happened and more will continue to happen because of shows like Bel-Air with Morgan Cooper. So, I think more time and more opportunities; colorism will be less of a problem, and it's getting better.

Thankfully, the tide is changing with shows like Bel-Air, Abbott Elementary, and The Wonder Years reboot debuting as shows like Insecure, black-ish, and Atlanta are concluding or preparing to end. Of course, audiences will get to see more of Coco Jones as Hilary Banks, with Bel-Air greenlit for a second season. In the meantime, new TV shows are premiering in 2022. If you want to see the Fresh Prince reboot, you can subscribe to Peacock.

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).