Jabari Banks is the rising star who will play Will Smith’s iconic role in Bel-Air, the dramatic reboot of the classic sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But is he related to the original Fresh Prince in any way? Here’s what we know.
Despite sharing the same last name and hailing from the same city, Jabari Banks and Will Smith are not biologically related. They are both from West Philadelphia, where they were born and raised, but they do not share any family ties.
However, they do share a strong connection through their roles as Will, the charismatic and street-smart teenager who moves from Philly to live with his wealthy relatives in Bel-Air, California. Jabari Banks will portray a modernized version of Will Smith’s character in the Peacock series Bel-Air, which will premiere on February 13, 2022.
Jabari Banks was personally chosen by Will Smith for the role
Jabari Banks is a newcomer who graduated from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia in 2020 with a degree in musical theater. He was working at a factory job in California when he auditioned for Bel-Air, which is his first onscreen role.
He got the news that he landed the part from Will Smith himself, who is an executive producer of the show. In a video released by Peacock, Will Smith surprised Jabari Banks with a Zoom call and congratulated him on getting the role of Will.
“From the deepest parts of my heart, I want to say congratulations to you. You have the role of Will on Bel-Air,” Will Smith told Jabari Banks. “You’ve got a fantastic road ahead of you, and I’m looking forward to being an asset for you in this process as you build out your life and your career.”
Jabari Banks was stunned and emotional by the announcement, and thanked Will Smith for the opportunity. “I’m so ready… This is a dream come true,” he said.
Jabari Banks has a lot in common with Will Smith
Jabari Banks and Will Smith have more than just their names and hometowns in common. They are both multi-talented artists who can act, sing, rap, and write music. They are also both fans of basketball and have impressive skills on the court.
Jabari Banks said that he feels a close connection to Will Smith and his character, and that he wants to honor his legacy with his performance. “I feel like Will is so close to me and my personal experiences. There are so many parallels between my life and his life. It feels as if it’s not such a stretch as an actor,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
He also said that he looks up to Will Smith as an inspiration and a mentor. “He’s been so supportive and so helpful throughout this whole process. He’s given me so much advice and so much wisdom,” he told People.
Jabari Banks is ready to make his mark as the new Fresh Prince
Jabari Banks is aware of the expectations and challenges that come with playing such a beloved and iconic role, but he is confident and excited to show his own interpretation of Will. He said that Bel-Air will be a different and deeper take on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, exploring the themes of identity, culture, family, and love in a more dramatic way.