Who remembers their reaction when they came home on April 1st 2009 to find Trouble TV no longer existed?
The struggle WAS real.
Running from 1997 to 2009, the station gave us some of THE BEST EVER (timeless)shows from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, One on One, Moesha and The Parkers to Eve, My Wife and Kids, Half and Half and Hangin’ With Mr Cooper…The list is ENDLESS.
Behind these shows were some of the most memorable TV characters - Skool Girl decided to touch base with a couple you may remember.
This week we catch up with Karyn Parsons, who played‘Hilary Banks’ in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air…
Show:The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990 – 1996)
Most memorable line: “Daddy, I need three-hundred dollars.”
Karyn Parsons is probably far from her TV character Hilary Banks who loved to shop and spend Daddy’s money. Now aged 48, Karyn is a Mommy of two, writer, actress, producer and the Founder and President of The Sweet Blackberry Foundation.
What was your experience like playing Hilary Banks?
I had such a great time. There’s nothing like getting to say all of the things that you’re not supposed to. To be able to be a bit of a b*itch, self-centered and politically incorrect. And I got to play with a terrific bunch of actors, writers, and directors. They were good people and talented too.
Hilary Banks was known for her sophisticated style and flair. What is your dress sense like in real life?
Oh I don’t have the time or patience to go to the lengths that Hilary would to get out the front door. I’m pretty casual and I have been pegged as Bohemian which I guess is mostly correct.
The Sweet Blackberry foundation is dedicated to inspiring children by telling them stories of African American achievement. Why do you think this is important?
We learn very little about Black History in our school and usually it’s the same handful of stories, which are wonderful, however, there are so many. And they are American stories, not just black stories. We risk losing these stories but we also risk sending the message that every once in a while a “special”Black person comes along and achieves something great. The truth is that Black people had a very large part in building this country, literally and the people and their stories are so inspiring and empowering. There is so much for children to learn about – determination, ingenuity and overcoming obstacles.
Tatyana Ali who played your younger sister “Ashley Banks” in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air is on the Board of Directors for the foundation. What ‘s it like working with her now in comparison to on set for the show?
She’s a brilliant lady. She was a bright kid and now I am so lucky to have her on the board. She’s so smart (Harvard grad!)and clever, and eloquent. I am crazy about her.
Tell us about the foundation’s latest film “Dancing In The Light: The Janet Collins Story”.
It’s the true story of the first Black Prima Ballerina. At 15 years old, Janet was asked to dance by the world renowned Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo, but they said she would have to dance in white face. So devastated, she turned it down. She worked even harder and went on to win the Donaldson award signifying best dancer on Broadway, became the first Black performer at the Metropolitan Opera, and first Black Prima.
What is your greatest memory of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air?
I don’t think there is just one. I guess its – making that play family my real family and knowing those people – all of them, not just the cast. The entire time is a great memory.
What advice can you give to a Skool Girl?
Be true to yourself and the things that thrill and excite you. Follow your joy and surround yourself with people that support and elevate you and make you better.
Featured images via Tumblr / Video clips via YouTube