By Bill Vaughan
The second season of Peacock’s record-setting original series “Bel-Air,” the dramatic take on the beloved 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” arrives Feb. 23 with new episodes weekly on Thursdays.
Starring the engaging Jabari Banks as Will, Adrian Holmes (Philip Banks), Cassandra Freeman (Vivian Banks), Olly Sholotan (Carlton Banks), Coco Jones (Hilary Banks), Akira Akbar (Ashley Banks), Jimmy Akingbola (Geoffrey), Jordan L. Jones (Jazz) and Simone Joy Jones (Lisa), season two continues Will’s complicated journey from the streets of west Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Los Angeles, where he is now at a crossroads with new family dynamics, love interests and athletic ambitions.
We’ll see Will’s and Carlton’s brotherhood start to evolve as they grow closer, but still challenge each other about their differences. We’ll also see Hilary evolve as she becomes more of a boss in her influencer world and how that spills over into her relationship with Jazz, plus the relatable struggles around Viv and Phil balancing marriage and family while trying to forge their own career paths and reconnect to the things that are important to them.
“The future of our show is bright and I can’t wait for fans to see what’s in store for the Banks family,” says executive producer Morgan Cooper, whose viral short gave birth to this adaptation.
“Everyone is ready to level up in this new chapter, especially Will, who’s determined to become his own man after the fallout with Lou and the Banks family in the season one finale,” Cooper adds. “The themes of trust, pride and ambition are at the forefront, and all our characters find themselves at unique crossroads that will be life-changing.”
Among the surprises in store is the return of the original series’ Ashley Banks, played by Tatyana Ali, in a recurring role as an English middle school teacher. “Cat’s out the bag,” Ali tweeted when the secret was revealed. “There’s no going back now.”
FESTIVAL FILE: The fifth American Black Film Festival announced the honorees of its annual awards ceremony scheduled for March 5, including Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”), Courtney B. Vance (“61st Street”), Janelle Monáe (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”), MACRO Founder and CEO Charles D. King, while the 1997 drama “Eve’s Bayou” celebrates a 25th anniversary. For more info on the event, hosted by Deon Cole, visit: www.abffhonors.com.
TASTY QUIP: “There’s a history of great Black artists who come up for awards and don’t win. We all know their work is great because art speaks for itself. But then it always comes down to this tricky territory of validation. Do Black artists say: ‘F— it’ — or seek white validation and chase awards? It’s straight-up shenanigans, skullduggery, subterfuge. Or as the British say: it’s some poppycock!” – SPIKE LEE to The Guardian
CLIPPETTES: The Soul II Soul Tour with Kem, Ledisi and Musiq Soulchild stops at the Microsoft Theater Feb. 17, while Blackbox presents NYC contemporary folk singer-songwriter Lizzie No at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage …
A sequel to the Gerard Butler’s actioner “Plane” is in the works to focus on co-star Mike Colter’s French Foreign Legion character Louis Gaspare. Look for “Ship” in 2024 …
Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly, and the Isley Brothers fill the bill at the YouTube Theater Feb. 18, as Nelly raps at The Novo, R&B vocalist Joyce Wrice is at the El Rey Theatre and Ozomatli jams at the Kavli Theatre …
Spend “An Evening with Nikole Hannah-Jones” of “The 1619 Project” Feb. 21, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bovard Auditorium. RSVP at EventBrite.com for a free spot …
Flo Wine by keyboardist Marcus Johnson partners with Inglewood’s 1010 Wine + Events for Winedown Wednesday Sips + Sounds Pop Up edition Feb. 22. Also that evening Jazz Is Dead presents the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio at the Lodge Room …
Singer Eric Benét is up for the next AARP virtual concert Feb. 23 at 5 p.m., celebrating Black History Month and promoting the connection between music and brain health. Check it out at aarpconcerts.org/eric-benet …
Later, classical music superstar Lang Lang plays the Walt Disney Concert Hall, also Feb. 23, as the Grammy Award-winning Pacifica Quartet is joined by New York Philharmonic principal clarinetist Anthony McGill at the Wallis Center.
TASTY QUIP: “Racism should be a topic for discussion, sure. Racism is very real. But from my perspective, it’s only as powerful as you allow it to be. I stopped describing myself as a ‘Black actor’ when I realized it put me in a box. We’ve got to grow. We’ve got to. Our skin is no more than that: It’s just skin. Rant over.” – IDRIS ELBA (“Luther”) to Esquire UK
TC ON TV: Feb. 17 – “2023 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game” (ESPN): Janelle Monáe, 21 Savage, Hasan Minhaj, Kane Brown, Simu Liu, Sinqua Walls, Ozuna, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, Pro Football Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, 11-time MLB All-Star Albert Pujols, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” correspondent Guillermo Rodriguez, and WWE Superstar The Miz are just some of the stars suiting up; “Great Performances” (PBS): “Movies For Grownups with AARP The Magazine” honors Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jeff Bridges, Brendan Fraser and Jamie Lee Curtis, among others.
Feb. 18 – “Black + Iconic” (BET): A new four-part, eight-hour documentary film series from award-winning executive producer Stanley Nelson (“Attica,” “Freedom Riders”), celebrating Black cultural pioneers and activists, and their impact, influence and legacies in fashion, music, film and dance.
Feb. 19 – “American Idol” (ABC): Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan and Katy Perry head to New Orleans, Las Vegas and Nashville to find the next singing sensation; “East New York” (CBS): Kelly Hu (“BMF,” “The Orville”) debuts in a recurring role in this episode directed by Nijla Mu’min (“Jinn”); “O.J. Simpson: Blood, Lies & Murder” (Reelz): Tom Lange, who was LAPD lead investigator on the double-murder case in which Simpson was accused, presents “shocking new evidence that never made it to the trial;” “Someone They Knew” (Court): An original true-crime series hosted by Tamron Hall; “America In Black” (BET): a groundbreaking, new, monthly prime-time news magazine show reported by CBS’ Gayle King, Vladmir Druthers, James Brown, Michelle Miller, Jericka Duncan, Adriana Diaz, and more, along with BET News mainstays Marc Lamont Hill and Ed Gordon.
Feb. 20 – “All American” (CW): Michael Schultz (“Car Wash,” “Cooley High”) directed this episode.
Feb. 21 – “Sommore: Queen Chandelier” (Netflix): This queen of comedy takes the stage to sound off on her suspicion of free stuff, social media prayer requests, fake lashes and ugly shoes; “Finding Your Roots” (PBS): In “And Still I Rise” Henry Louis Gates reveals the unexpected family trees of activist Angela Davis (who is keynoting the 58th Memorial Commemoration of Malcolm X on this day at 4 p.m. via YouTube @Shabazz Center) and statesman Jeh Johnson; “Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed The World” (PBS): Chuck D’s docuseries concludes with “Culture Wars” and “Still Fighting.”
Feb. 22 – “Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever” (Disney+): How director Ryan Coogler and Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson collaborated with global musicians and artists to create music for one of the most anticipated sequels in modern movie history; “The Strays” (Netflix): Ashley Madekwe stars as a Black woman whose meticulously crafted life of privilege starts to unravel when two strangers show up in her quaint, suburban town; “Can’t Turn Us Around: Alabama’s Foot Soldiers” (History) follows the organized movement fueled by Black Americans across the South from roughly 1955 to 1965 as they aimed to rid America of segregation and guarantee equal rights; “Made From Scratch” (Fuse): Compton’s Roddy Ricch shares a family recipe; “Snowfall” (FX): Franklin (Damson Idris) fights to keep his business afloat in this final season.
Feb. 23 – “The Ms. Pat Show” (BET+): The comic’s raunchy sitcom is back with Tami Roman (“Basketball Wives”) as her sister.
END QUOTE: “I think we should fixate on who is typecasting and putting actors in boxes because of this. Not on making weird adjustments for them. We continuously focus on what we have to do so they don’t do this or that. Very worrying. We BLACK and that’s that.” – JOHN BOYEGA (“The Woman King”) responding to Idris Elba via Twitter
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.