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Real Talk: 'Aunt Viv' Dogs Will Smith Again

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Janet Hubert
James Avery and Janet Hubert
Photo Credit: Getty
Like many, I saw the recent reunion picture of the cast of "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and I noticed “Aunt Viv,” aka Janet Hubert aka the original aunt, was missing from the photo. I immediately knew why.

Hubert would eventually explain to TMZ exactly why she wasn’t there, saying, “There will never be a reunion... as I will never do anything with an a--hole like Will Smith."

She added, “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... he doesn't know the word."

But I already knew how she felt, because her most recent comments are the third time I can remember her blasting Smith. When I smiled at the picture, reminiscing about my favorite moments of each character, Hubert’s quality work as an actress wasn’t the first thing that popped in my head. It was what she’s perhaps become better known for: dogging Will Smith.

Over on The Root, Claudio E. Cabrera summed up my thoughts on this most recent re-beat of this long-dead horse: “For Hubert to still hold this bitterness toward Smith, warranted or not, is unhealthy. She seems to be using Smith as a scapegoat for her own failed career. Whether or not what she is saying is accurate, it's time to move on.”

In 1993, Hubert was replaced on the show by Daphne Reid. In 2009, she published a book about her experiences, “Perfection is Not a Sitcom Mom.” BV on Books described it as a “scathing memoir.”

In an interview about the book with BV, Hubert said, “Will Smith and Alfonso [Ribiero, who played Carlton Banks] destroyed a 20-year-career with untruths. I got slammed. Will apologized later in an Essence magazine article, but it still lingers. It's still there."

Also in 2009, Hubert participated in an hour-plus interview with EUR’s Lee Bailey. Black America Web described the interview as “reveal[ing] vivid details of her claims against Smith, which include verbal and mental abuse on the set, hypocrisy, excessive egoism, blatant resentment, the insensitive spewing of "your mama’s so Black" jokes, and ultimately, public slander –- which Hubert says kept her from getting projects green-lighted and has banned her from work in the field she used to love.”

Smith is known to have negatively commented just once on Hubert’s dismissal. In 1993, he gave an interview to Atlanta’s V103. "I can say straight up that Janet Hubert wanted the show to be 'The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air Show,'" Smith said. “She's mad now, but she's been mad all along. She said once, 'I've been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.' No matter what, to her I'm just the AntiChrist."

TMZ reached out to Smith for comment after Hubert’s most recent blasting. He didn’t respond.

Especially as Hubert acknowledges Smith has apologized publicly, I hope she will move on and begin to decline commenting as well.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk
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