Karyn Parsons, who played Hilary Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” told Bold TV, “Of course I would be there, of course I would,” if a “Fresh Prince” reboot were to happen. However she added, “I have a hard time seeing it happen, especially since we lost James Avery [who played Uncle Phil], so it seems really hard to imagine. But yeah, I would follow those guys anywhere they go.”
The writer, producer and actor weighed in on why rebooting ’90s sitcoms is so popular lately. She speculated that viewers are likely seeking out shows that resonated with them as kids because the genre of sitcoms in many ways was replaced by reality TV.
“Now maybe we’re just seeing that people are not just nostalgic, but hungry. They’re nostalgic for those shows and those characters and the feeling they had from all of that because that was real,” Parsons said.
She also told Bold TV it’s surprising that fans still come up to her frequently. “Year after year people come up to me and say ‘I loved your show, it was my favorite show. And now it’s my kid’s favorite show,'” she said. “I had no idea when we were doing it that this would happen.”
While Parsons is well-known for her role as Hilary Banks, it’s certainly not her only achievement. Her nonprofit, Sweet Blackberry, produces animated shorts covering little-known stories of African-American history and achievement (and can be viewed on Netflix). The shorts, which are narrated by celebrities including Queen Latifah, Chris Rock, Alfre Woodard and more, cover historical figures like ballet dancer Janet Collins, inventor Garrett Morgan and Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to become a pilot.
“[We’re] telling stories that you just don’t hear about in school, in the history books,” Parsons said. “Unfortunately black history — we’re mostly taught about a handful of stories; there’s so much more out there…I found out that a lot of the materials weren’t out there, teachers didn’t have the resources.”
Parsons’ new book, “How High the Moon,” continues her storytelling work; it’s a historical fiction novel for young kids and adults, which takes place in 1940s South Carolina. It’s based on Parsons’ mother’s experience as a child (with a bit of Parsons’ own childhood mixed in). Parsons said she grew up hearing about her mom’s happy childhood, but realized later in life that it must have been more difficult to grow up in the Jim Crow South than her mother let on. A combination of historical research and interviews with her mom resulted in a story that explores how a child can find happiness, even in a dangerous and divided time. It covers themes like colorism, with the main character, Ella, being bullied for her light skin tone.
Parsons said we’re often too quick to judge and “I like the idea of challenging how people perceive people when they meet them and what their expectations are.”
Photo Credit: NBC & Karyn Parsons