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Will Smith Blocked Rupaul From Guesting On Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Will Smith Blocked Rupaul From Guesting On Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

Will Smith (L) and Rupaul (R)
Lev Radin/Shutterstock

Who would turn down the opportunity to work with a drag icon?!

Will Smith and RuPaul nearly crossed paths in the early ‘90s when they were both rocketing to stardom, but Smith crushed the idea of having the drag icon make a guest appearance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The incident is detailed in Thea Glassman’s new book, Freaks, Gleeks, and Dawson’s Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed Television, which includes an interview with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air executive producer David Steven Simon, as reported by People.

Simon recalled that Smith, who got to approve every story idea for the show and rarely rejected any, turned him down when he suggested bringing RuPaul on the show for a cameo.

“I remember him saying that would be a really bad idea. And I said, ‘No, listen, hear my story —.’” According to Simon, Smith wouldn’t listen and kept “repeating that it was a bad idea.”

Smith started his journey to fame as one half of the hip-hop duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, but made his acting debut when The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air premiered in 1990. The sitcom quickly became a cultural phenomenon and was based off of the Men in Black actor’s real life.

While drag culture is more mainstream now — thanks in large part to RuPaul himself — it was less so in the early ‘90s and this likely played a role in Smith’s reticence to act alongside the drag queen even though he was gaining popularity by the day.

RuPaul’s debut album Supermodel of the World dropped in 1993, with the single “Supermodel (You Better Work)" becoming an instant hit and peaking at No. 45 on the Billboard Hot 100. And although Smith may have turned down the idea of hiring him, RuPaul scored guest appearances on popular shows like Sister, Sister; Sabrina The Teenage Witch; and Walker, Texas Ranger.

After that the drag superstar went on to host their own VH1 talk show, came out with countless more dance hits, and launched the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2009 — and the rest is history.

Luckily Mama Ru didn’t need a cameo on a sitcom to rocket to stardom!

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.