The show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is definitely one of the most iconic 90s shows. Whether you were a fan of Carlton, Uncle Phil, or Will Smith himself, there were so many great characters.
Probably one of the most under appreciated characters is Aunt Vivian. She’s tough, shes confident, and she will not take your nonsense.
The original Aunt Viv was played by Janet Hubert. The actress starred in the show for the first three seasons, but after some issues working with Smith, she was replaced.
However, for a lot of us, Hubert remains the most memorable Aunt Viv, simply because she had the most iconic moments.
Most of us remember the episode where Vivian takes a dance class, right? It’s probably one of the best moments from the entire run of the show.
Vivian goes to take a recreational dance class for fun, but when she arrives they are all going too fast, and don’t really take the time to explain anything, leaving her struggling to keep up.
The other dancers seem to be judging her, but that’s not going to let our hero give up. She comes back the next time with a confidence that the rest of us could only ever aspire to and she absolutely destroys the whole routine.
With that pink leotard, that regal posture, and her impossibly cool attitude, in that moment Aunt Viv was everything we could ever hope to be.
Hubert recently spoke up about what it was like to film that scene, and it’s nice to hear her side of the story.
That amazing outfit
Hubert wasn’t expecting that outfit when she arrived on set, it absolutely caught her off guard.
“When I went to wardrobe, and I’m like, ‘You want me to wear this?’ I was like, ‘Really?! No bra?!’”
Luckily, she admits that she was pretty tiny at the time, so the outfit wasn’t too intimidating.
“I was really skinny. I was like a size 2, or a zero, or something like that back then.”
How that episode came to be
Hubert explained that the dance episode was a bit of a surprise. The producer of the show, Winifred Hervey Stallworth, was the one who wanted to showcase Hubert’s dancing skills, even though Hubert herself admitted they weren’t all Stallworth thought they were.
“She had this vision to sort of showcase everybody’s talents. And I had never dances – I’s been spinning and twirling on the set. So when they said, ‘You have a dance episode,’ I was like, ‘Whaaaaat?!’”
She didn’t have a lot of time to get ready, but she worked as hard as she could.
“I walked in and they said, ‘You have two weeks. Can you still dance?’ And I said, ‘Oh, a little bit.’”
Luckily she had someone on the inside who was able to support her, because the choreographer was actually her best friend, Romel.
The hardest part to learn
The dance looks complicated and literally anyone of us would totally fail if we tried, but Hubert totally nailed it. She had to work really hard at it though, especially on one particular moment.
“I did not want to do that one step – that one step [she said while miming the dance]. I kept going, ‘What?!’ ‘Cause my body was going, ‘I can’t, I can’t.’”
But luckily her friend was there to help her through.
“Romel kept saying, ‘You can.’ He was like this, ‘Janet, you can do that step. Come on now!’ We worked on that step, and I finally got it – that little step and then that little thing at the back.”
People are still asking her about it
Obviously it’s the first thing we think of when we imagine Aunt Viv, but some people are bold enough to actually ask her if she can still do it.
“When people say, ‘Can you still do that dance?’ I say, “Can you?’ They go, ‘No.’ And I go, ‘OK, there’s your answer. No!’”
Her thoughts on Vivian
Having played the character for three years, she has heard a lot of other peoples opinions and reactions to the character, and it’s actually very sweet. She shared what people would say to her.
“People would say to me ‘To see a black woman your age who was playing a mom do that role and dance like that…’ They were shocked.”
She’s proud of the character she played.
“Vivian was so fierce. She was not just a school teacher, she was a professional woman, she looked good, she was smart. She also had ‘cohungas [sic]’. And I loved that they allowed me to bring parts of Janet into who Vivian was. It was a very complete role.”
To her fans
She had a sweet message to the fans who still love her.
“It’s been almost 30 years. So all I have to say is, thank you so much for the love that you have shown… I love you for loving me and for supporting me all these years. All these decades!”
What is she doing now?
Hubert has started making content for kids.
“I got a Kickstarter project for my children’s piece, Ok? The Kickstarter is for J.G and the B.C Kids. It’s an animated series. It’s about bringing book-smart kids and street-smart kids together.
“It’s about a little black boy named Vinnie Williams, who unlocks a vortex with an equation and unleashes J.G – this character with dreads, she’s really cool, she’s really fabulous. It’s got music.
“It was something that I created when I was frustrated, because my own son was bullied.”
If you are interested in supporting her Kickstarter, you can find more information about it here.
It shows off some of the artwork for the piece, including a super-cool dinosaur that looks pretty awesome.
It’s nice to know that while Janet Hubert may not have been around for all of ‘Fresh Prince’ that there was still a few good memories of her time on the show.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of those shows that wasn’t afraid to get real with their audiences, and tackle really dramatic issues. Sure, it broke our hearts all the time, but it was worth it. It wasn’t the only one though, there were so many classics that absolutely destroyed us.
Recently, there have been rumors about it coming back, but this time instead of a ‘Fresh Prince,’ it would be a ‘Fresh Princess.’
As for the rest of the cast, they’ve all grown up quite a lot since the show ended, but if you’ve been wondering where they all are now, we’ve got you covered.
Source – The Root