I’ve been having a hard time. Maybe I’m been a little overdramatic, but “I think my mask of sanity is about to slip“. James Avery passed away at the beginning of January. I hadn’t realized how much his passing brought up stuff that was boiling at the surface… family stuff. The transcript of my all-time favorite scene from Fresh Prince will explain it better than I could:


[Lou has just left after canceling his trip with Will]

Philip Banks: I’m sorry, Will.

William ‘Will’ Smith: [acting like he doesn’t care] Y’know, actually, this works out better for me. Y’know, the slimmies of summer come to class wearin’ next to nothin’, you know what I’m sayin’…

Philip Banks: Will, it’s alright to be angry.

William ‘Will’ Smith: Hey, why should I be mad? At least he said “goodbye” this time. I just wish I hadn’t wasted my money buying this stupid present.

[pulls a small, African-style statue from his bag and puts it on the table – it’s a father sitting with his son in his lap]

Philip Banks: I’m sorry, if… if there was something I could do…

William ‘Will’ Smith: You ain’t gotta do nothin’, Uncle Phil. You know, ain’t like I’m still five years old, you know? Ain’t like I’m gonna be sitting up every night asking my mom “when’s daddy coming home”, you know? Who needs him? Hey, he wasn’t there to teach me how to shoot my first basket, but I learned it, didn’t I? And I got pretty damn good at it, too, didn’t I, Uncle Phil?

Philip Banks: Yeah, you did.

William ‘Will’ Smith: Got through my first date without him, right? I learned how to drive, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him. I had *fourteen* great birthdays without him; he never even sent me a damn card.

[turns and shouts toward the door]

William ‘Will’ Smith: TO HELL WITH HIM!


William ‘Will’ Smith: I didn’t need him then, and I don’t need him now.

Philip Banks: Will… Will…

William ‘Will’ Smith: [voice rises to a shout] No, you know what, Uncle Phil? I’m gonna get through college without him, I’m gonna get a great job without him, I’m gonna marry me a beautiful honey, and I’m-a have me a whole bunch of kids. I’ll be a better father than he *ever* was. And I sure as hell don’t need him for that, ’cause there ain’t a *damn* thing he can ever teach me about how to love my kids!

[long pause]

William ‘Will’ Smith: How come he don’t want me, man?

[breaks down, starts crying]

William ‘Will’ Smith: [Uncle Phil reaches out, grabs Will, and holds him as he cries on his shoulder]

The performances in this scene bring tears to my eyes every time I watch this scene. It sums of a lot of pain that I’ve working out through the years.  Makes me think of what we all need to do to “man-up” (as much as I hate that expression) or, to be gender neutral: just do the right thing.

Have a great week, people.

James Avery as Philip Banks aka Uncle Phil in The Fresh Prince from Bel-Air

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