Something doesn’t add up with Will Smith’s bullying story in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s theme song
Dear Mr. Smith,
First off, I’d like to stay I’m a big fan. I’ve been rocking with you since “Summertime.” I have enjoyed many of your movies and music over the years but in my opinion, and I don’t think I’m alone in this, I consider the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song your crowning achievement. And that is why I’m writing to you today.
After listening to the theme song hundreds (possibly thousands) of times, I have noticed that there are some pretty significant, unexplained omissions from your story that I hope you can address.
I make sure my analysis of pop culture is taken with a grain of salt by considering the motivations of the storyteller. In doing this with the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s theme song, I noticed some disturbing omissions of very relevant information and now I am beginning to question the validity of your story. Frankly Mr. Smith, I’m asking if you purposefully manipulated (aka scammed) your family, your friends and most important your audience into moving you out of Philadelphia and into a posh, comfortable California lifestyle.
Let’s analyze the song line by line.
Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned all upside down
Now I’d like to take a minute just sit right there. I’ll tell you how I became the Prince of a town called Be- Air
Mr. Smith. Sympathy is a powerful tool that is often used in manipulation. It is clear that your very first lines are aimed at getting the listener to feel sorry for you. Through your descriptions of having your life “flipped” and “turned upside down”, we instantly assume that you had to persevere through some life changing, possibly traumatic, personal event. Now you might point to the fight that you had back in Philadelphia as proof of this, but I have questions about the validity of that incident, as you’ll see below. But focusing back on the first line, I’m having a hard time believing that you innocently had your life shaken up through no fault of you own. Maybe if you hadn’t bragged in the next line about you new found status, I’d be more apt to believe you .
In West Philadelphia, born and raised. On the playground was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ and maxing, relaxing all cool, while shooting some b-ball outside of the school.
Mr. Smith. Are you bragging about playing hooky from school? It’s well established that at the beginning of the series you are still in high school, so why would you be spending most of your day on the playground? What’s worse is that, in my experience, teenagers that are spending most of their time hanging out at a playground are usually not innocently selling girl scout cookies, if you catch my drift. And what’s more, the next line has you incriminating yourself even further. Not only are you skipping school, doing Lord knows what, but you have the audacity to play basketball RIGHT OUTSIDE of the building you’re supposed to be inside. Have you no shame?
And if you think I’m wrong about you being a menace to society, look at the beginning of the video for the theme song. In it you are seen drawing graffiti on a wall and getting busted by a cop. In just four lines you have lost any credibility to call yourself a good person.
When a couple of guys, they were up to no good. Started making trouble in my neighborhood.
This is where the whole story takes a nefarious turn, Mr. Smith. Up until now, you have presented yourself as an arrogant punk bragging about rebelling against the system. This is annoying but not uncommon teenage behavior. But I fear that this line is the first time you start to mislead the audience by distorting/omitting the truth or possibly flat out lying to the audience. In the way YOU tell the story, these tough guys from the neighborhood randomly start to terrorize you. Under normal circumstance, I would take you at your word. But we know that I no longer trust you, so I have reasonable doubt that you aren’t telling the truth? So answer this question for me.
Mr. Smith. Why are you so vague about the nature of the “trouble” this group was making? I know that you are trying to fit a lot of exposition into a short song, but can you please give me some (any?) details of their exploits? “Making trouble in my neighborhood” doesn’t cut it when the only person that has been proven to be up to no good has been YOU.
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared and said you’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air
In my opinion, this is the most concerning like of all, Mr. Smith. Your vagueness regarding this incident is frightening. First, why did you get into a fight with “the couple of guys” in the first place? You’ve failed to make the connection between how/why they approached you and how/why the situation escalated to fisticuffs. You make it seem like you were minding your own business, but for all I know you could have started the whole thing.
Another question I have about the fight was, who won? Because your mom moved you to Bel-Air, we assumed that you lost. It sounds like she made you leave for your safety. While that seems like a bit of an over-reaction, that logic makes sense. However, consider if you actually won the “little fight” instead of lost it. What would be the reasons for your mom to move you to California? Maybe she was scared that she couldn’t curb her out-of-control son and needed to send him away to stay with her disciplinarian brother. Maybe she sent you away because you assaulted the other “guys” so bad that you needed to run from the law. Who knows what other felonies and misdemeanors you and your accomplice Jazzy Jazz committed terrorizing the streets of West Philadelphia.
John 3:20-21 of the Bible says “For everyone who does evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
In the Star Wars re-release in 1997, George Lucas altered a scene between Han Solo and Greedo which resulted in Han appearing more virtuous than he actually was. But Star Wars fans knew the truth and called him out on it. Mr. Smith I am asking that you not be a George Lucas and rewrite history for your benefit. Instead, let us know the truth about the events of that fateful day in West Philadelphia thirty years ago. Take a second, I’ll sit right here, and tell us how you REALLY became the Prince of of that town we call Bel-Air.
(Creator/Lead Editor/Sole Writer of the Umm…OK blog)