Will Smith Didn’t Want RuPaul in Fresh Prince to Protect His Image: “That would be a really bad idea”

Hollywood star Will Smith did not buy in the idea of Queen of Drag, RuPaul making a cameo in his breakout series, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Will Smith Didn’t Want RuPaul in Fresh Prince to Protect His Image: "That would be a really bad idea"

SUMMARY

  • Hollywood star Will Smith landed his career-defining role as Will in the iconic 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • Executive producer David Steven Simon recalled his conversation with Will Smith, back when RuPaul was gaining popularity.
  • But Smith’s pushback ultimately led to Simon complying, scrapping the Queen of Drag’s cameo on the show.
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Hollywood star Will Smith landed his career-defining role as Will in the iconic 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. With six seasons of pure entertainment, the show ended up being listed in journalist Thea Glassman’s book released this year. In Freaks, Gleeks and Dawson’s Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed Television, a segment disclosed that Smith was not convinced by the idea of notable Drag personality RuPaul guest starring in his show. 

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Will Smith in King Richard
Will Smith

Executive producer David Steven Simon recalled his conversation with Will Smith, back when RuPaul was gaining popularity in the music industry. Simon confirmed that Smith was adamant about not getting RuPaul cast, even after the former tried to persuade him. 

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Also read: “What the hell is your problem, buddy?”: Way before Chris Rock, Will Smith Slapped One Person for Forcing Him into a Kiss on Live TV

Will Smith voted against Drag Queen RuPaul’s cameo

Will Smith in I Am Legend
Will Smith in I Am Legend

As Thea Glassman’s 2023 book, Freaks, Gleeks and Dawson’s Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed Television stated, RuPaul Charles ideally would have been featured in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air if Will Smith was not totally against it. Producer David Steven Simon initially brainstormed show ideas with the Academy Award winner when the idea of the 63-year-old drag queen’s cameo erupted. 

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Simultaneously, Smith did not buy the idea. In the book, Simon was quoted as, 

“I remember him saying that would be a really bad idea. And I said, ‘No, listen, hear my story.” 

But Smith’s persistent pushback ultimately led to Simon complying, scrapping the Queen of Drag’s cameo on the show. The primary reason behind the 55-year-old actor rejecting the idea was his image. Hence, Simon added, 

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“I remember him saying that would be a really bad idea,” Simon recalls in the book. “And I said, ‘No, listen, hear my story.”

Anyhow, RuPaul eventually got his share of stardom by pioneering drag representation on TV with the 27-time Emmy-winning show, RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009. Whereas, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air aired until May 1996, followed by a 30-year reunion in 2020. Two years before Will Smith would tarnish his well-preserved “image” by slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. 

Also read: “He didn’t like nothing I did”: Will Smith Wanted to Impress James Avery So Bad He Screamed in Frustration After Messing Up a Crucial Scene With Him

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The unspoken rift between two rising stars

RuPaul at an event
RuPaul at an event

In the ’90s, Smith and Charles both were in their early careers, steadily rising in the entertainment sphere. While Smith’s career arc was well within the norms, RuPaul had to face many setbacks because of his form of self-expression. There was much stigma associated with drag performers back then. RuPaul’s 1998 talk show on VH1 was scrapped after a two-year run, while already gaining popularity for his hit number, Supermodel (You Better Work). 

Smith was too wary of his image, not open to the idea of a drag queen guest starring alongside him. Regardless, RuPaul did cameos in 1994’s Sister, Sister, 1996’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and 1993’s Walker, Texas Ranger. 

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There has been no comment on the matter from the Hollywood star or his representatives. Thus, his silence could be presumed to be the truth. Whereas, RuPaul’s Drag Race has gained significant momentum in the TV sphere, with its 16th season rolling in 2024. 

Also read: “I’m politically correct”: Kevin Hart Turning Down a Gay Role Was Wildly Different From Will Smith That Got Undeserved Criticism

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Tiyasa Biswas

Written by Tiyasa Biswas

Tiyasa Biswas is a Content Writer at FandomWire. With more than a year of expertise in content spanning over multiple fields: entertainment, sports and features, Tiyasa seeks to bring her flair to the world of fandom. Her journalistic works have garnered significant viewership, with her articles gauging a worldwide audience.