Whatever you think of the #sowhiteoscars protest, this was the most incredible, the most sensational, the most epic shade thrown in black Hollywood. In mid-January Janet Hubert, aka Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, went on YouTube to get a few things off her chest. First, the original Aunt Viv thinks Will and Jada Smith’s boycott of the Oscars is phony and selfish. Why, says Hubert, should actors ruin their careers for the egotism of the Smiths? Furthermore, where have the Smiths been on such things as Black Lives Matter, black roles and black advancement in Hollywood? On the mentorship of black actors? Oh, Hubert would not have us forget that she urged a young Will Smith to leverage his stardom and get across-the-board pay raises for the cast of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in the 1990s. He blew her off, and she claims she was blacklisted in Hollywood as a result.
On Hubert’s part, is this bitterness? Many think so. Or is this perspective, gained from bitter experience and much thought. Maybe. This from Hubert’s interview with The Los Angeles Times: “People are dying. I have Sallie Mae bills up the … to pay. When people come see what we do, we offer them a little escape. That’s all we provide. But you can’t start believing your own press kit.”