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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is one of the most popular sitcoms of all time and a true staple of the ‘90s. One of the reasons the show is so recognizable among viewers is its catchy theme song, performed by the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith. The intro and classic tune delightfully tracks Will’s journey from the streets of Philadelphia to the suburbs of Bel-Air. Interestingly though, there is one aspect of theme that may have some puzzled.
One of the key moments in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s opening sequences is the basketball scene, during which Will Smith has an unfortunate run-in with a group of bullies. However, one Reddit user has pointed out that one of the guys he’s seen playing basketball with is none other than his friend, Jazz.
Fresh Prince fans no doubt know that Jazz, played by Smith’s real-life friend and collaborator DJ Jazzy Jeff, is introduced early in the series as a friend that Will has in Bel Air. So why is Jazz hooping up with him in Philadelphia?
The Reddit user mentions several possibilities as for why this could be the case. One reason could be that the producers just thought it would be a fun thing to add in the opening. A deeper explanation the user adds is that Will and Jazz could have actually been friends for years, and Jazz would visit Will in Philadelphia. This could definitely be possible since Will would visit the Banks family as a child and could’ve met Jazz during one of those visits. Finally, the user also jokes that the entire thing could be a conspiracy in which the producers goofed and are now doing what they can to sweep the entire thing under the rug.
As interesting and hilarious as those theories are, but the simplest one may actually be the case. When the pilot for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was initially shot, the producers may not have initially intended for Jazzy Jeff (or Jeffrey Townes) to play a character on the show. So, as the Reddit user mentions, when the intro was filmed, he was likely added as a fun nod to his friendship with Will Smith.
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time there’s been a bit of mystery stemming from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. Some may have noticed that, in the opening, Will’s mother is not played by Vernee Watson-Johnson, who portrayed the character in the show. With this, many have spent years trying to figure out who plays the older, spectacled version of the character that’s seen packing Will’s bags during the opening.
Regardless of how or why Jazz came to be featured in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s opening, it’s just great that he ended up playing up a key role in the series. Jazz was a key source of comic humor, and it’s hard to imagine Will and the Banks family not having the sometimes shady, but always well-meaning, DJ around.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is currently available to stream on HBO Max.