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The replacement of Aunt Viv was a sore spot for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fans. Will Smith finally reconciled with actor Janet Hubert in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reunion. One creative fan, however, came up with a theory as to what really happened when Daphne Reid became the new Aunt Viv.

'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' star Will Smith puts his arm around Aunt Viv actor Janet Hubert
Will Smith and Janet Hubert | Chris Cuffaio/NBCU Photo Bank

Michael Harriot is a writer for The Guardian. He has also written for The Amber Ruffin Show. On Dec. 14, Harriot shared his theory about what The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was really about. He suggests Hubert’s Aunt Viv was actually murdered! 

Michael Harriot’s ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ fan theory went viral

Harriot suggested The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was not about a teen from Philadelphia living with his wealthy relatives. Harriot suggested Will (Smith) was an undercover police informant. 

Harriot suggested that the fight on the basketball court in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song was actually a drug war. Will was dealing crack, the drug of choice in 1990, and rivals tried to eliminate him. When the police arrested them, Harriot theorized, they said he could stay out of jail if he informed on his supplier: Uncle Phil.

Aunt Viv had to die for Uncle Phil

Harriot continued to speculate that Uncle Phil informed on Civil Rights leaders in return for a scholarship to Princeton, as part of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. As an accomplished lawyer, Harriot speculated, the CIA used Uncle Phil to introduce crack into Black communities. Harriot said Jazz (Jeff Townes) was Will’s FBI handler and the entire Banks family was in on it, until Aunt Viv wanted out. 

“You know Aunt Viv was murdered, right?” Harriot tweeted. “Being a trophy wife of a drug kingpin was beginning to weigh on Aunt Viv. She filed for divorce and threatened Phil with exposing his secret cartel if he didn’t give her the house, so Geoffrey killed her and replaced her with the woman you know as ‘light-skinned aunt Viv.’”


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Harriot suggested the replacement of Aunt Viv was a success due to racism in the ‘90s.

“But you know they think ‘we all look alike,’” Harriot wrote. “So the feds didn’t notice for years. Will never mentioned it either…”

Will Smith is still the prince in this story 

Harriot’s story goes on for many tweets and they’re all worth a read. They have a happy ending, too. Will still becomes the Fresh Prince when he exposes the FBI for flooding Black communities with drugs. The Banks family turns around, too. Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) promises to get Hollywood contacts to tell the story. Hilary (Karyn Parsons) offers to invite whistleblowers onto her talk show. Jazz and British Intelligence officer Geoffrey (Joseph Marcell) also vouch for Will.

“Will was never undercover,” Harriot wrote. “He had informed them of the plot from the beginning. The Banks now had so much money & leverage, they were free from COINTELPRO forever. And THAT’S actually how he became the prince of a town called Bel-Air, True story.”