Speaking to Thea Glassman for Freaks, Gleeks, and Dawson’s Creek: How Seven Teen Shows Transformed Television, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air executive producer David Steven Simon recalled that Will Smith shot down what could have been a guest appearance from rising drag queen RuPaul.
Simon Stated, “I remember him saying that would be a really bad idea,” Simon said. “And I said, ‘No, listen, hear my story —.’ Despite multiple appeals, Simon said that Smith “refused” the idea and kept saying how bad it could be.
Simon eventually backed down the idea. And according to the book, the executive producer said Smith was worried about protecting his reputation. Simon added, “The reason he would say no is because of his image. Period. The End.”
The series Fresh Prince premiered in 1990 following Smith’s character, Will, after his mom sent him away from Philadelphia to live with his Uncle Phil in a wealthy Bel-Air. The series ran for six seasons before ending in 1996. The series has been largely known for the actor with multiple appearances to this day referencing the show.
Meanwhile RuPaul, real name RuPaul Andre Charles, was actually starting to make waves in the early ‘90s for his 1992 track ‘Supermodel (You Better Work)”.
Though a guest appearance never happened on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the drag queen launched a radio show and VH1 talk show titled The RuPaul show. The series was later canceled in 1998.
And even though the crossover with RuPaul and Fresh-Prince never happened in the ‘90s, costars Tatyana Ali and Karyn Parsons did cross paths with the drag queen in 2022 when Ali competed on RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race.
RuPaul’s Drag Race, the hit series from the drag queen, has gone on to numerous networks since its debut from Logo, VH1, and now celebrating its recent place at MTV.
RuPaul has not commented on the situation with Will Smith and the Fresh Prince star has not made any public comment either.
Aside from this missed opportunity, RuPaul has gone on to guest-star on several shows including Sister, Sister, Sabrina The Teenage Witch, and Walker, Texas Ranger.