By Stranga The Great
Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
To say the least, this presidential election is unusual and, at times, it is hard to believe these candidates are serious. Donald Trump is the nominee for the Republican Party and his comments are outrageous. A lot of his comments have caused him to lose favor with many people.
Prior to getting involved, heavily, with politics, beginning with his harsh criticism of Obama, Donald Trump was an icon. The 1980s ushered in an era of wealth and prosperity. During these times, the lifestyles of the rich and the famous emerged.
Donald Trump, a prominent Manhattan real estate developer, quickly rose to stardom when his lifestyle became public knowledge. Television shows, such as “Dallas,” boasting characters like J.R. (Larry Hagman) added to this aura. This was the era when daytime soaps also adopted mega-wealthy characters.
It was this era of pop culture that inspired “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the sitcom starring Will Smith, then best-known as The Fresh Prince, one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. This show, dubbed “The Cosby Show” for hip hop, displayed a black family also living in the lap of luxury. A “fish out of water” scenario saw Will Smith living with his rich aunt, uncle, and his cousins.
Will Smith remained the star of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and his character was built off making insulting jokes about Carlton Banks (Alfonso Ribeiro), his first cousin. The polar opposite to Smith’s homeboy, boy from the ‘hood, persona, Carlton Banks was a preppy, nerdy, socially-awkward young man. Early episodes of the show saw Will making fun of Carlton’s blackness.
Ironically, now, most black men, including many of the newer rap stars, identify more with Carlton than Will’s character. Carlton Banks was a true rich kid and wanted to inherit all of the Banks fortune and he, along with the rest of the Banks family, was heavily Republican. Often, Banks spoke in reverence of Ronald Reagan and tried to place a phone call to Dan Quayle on behalf of Uncle Phil (the late James Avery) during his bid for judge.
Carlton Banks was often shown as very ambitious and, sometimes, greedy. Growing up in the 1980s, Carlton likely watched Donald Trump in the media and he, obviously, idolized him. With Donald Trump courting the black vote and the election cycle coming to an end, Trump’s cameo in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” may end up playing a major role.
Clearly, however, Donald Trump has changed a lot since he tried to buy the Banks’ mansion in the mid-1990s. At that time, Trump had not given the “what do you have to lose?” speech his campaign may be defined by. Also, he had not made the controversial comments about Mexico, ISIS, the Muslim community, and such sexist comments that he has made.
Since 2006, the Republican Party has done a tremendous shift to the right, even after being the right-wing party. In just the “Fresh Prince” era, the state of California went from being solidly Republican to going for Bill Clinton, the first of six, soon to be seven, presidential elections. Later seasons of “The Fresh Prince” did not focus much on political alliance, even though Carlton began season six at a Young Republicans camp.
Regardless, Carlton Banks was shown to be well-aware of his race, despite how he acted. In several episodes, he set people straight who tried to discredit him when it came to his race. A proud, black, man, Carlton Banks was shown to be compassionate and accepting of all people, regardless of race, and he was always very kind to the women in his life.
What would an additional twenty years have seen from Carlton Banks? Of course, there was the hoax “Carlton Unhinged” spinoff show that was circulating, a couple of years ago, but what would Carlton Banks really be like? If he remained a Republican, even through the Obama years, would he be receptive to a GOP that nominated a candidate like Donald Trump?
Even deeper, would Carlton Banks still admire Donald Trump to the point of fainting at his presence, if the two met in person?
The question is, would Carlton Banks vote for Donald Trump?
Watch Donald Trump’s cameo on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” below: