Will Smith Surprises 8-Year-Old Boy Who Saved His Family From Homelessness

Will Smith Surprises Aaron

We can all use a good news bump these days, and one of the coolest is when celebrities surprise young fans, especially when it’s someone who really deserves it. Aaron Moreno is an 8-year-old boy who really freaking deserves it, which is why watching him get surprised by Will Smith is one of those videos that will bring a smile to your face (a valuable thing to have during a cold pandemic winter!).

If you don’t know who he is, here’s the short version of why he deserves it. Aaron’s mom lost her job at the beginning of the pandemic, and the family was forced to live in a shed, where they were still struggling to get by. Aaron told his mom about his idea to start a business selling plants, and she gave him her last $12 as seed money (pun very intended). He turned into hundreds, then thousands, after it went viral and admirers started a GoFundMe. His hard work helped his family move out of the shed to an apartment, helped them get a new car, and helped them bring his sister back to live with them (she had been sent to live with other family members).

All that goodness got him on the radar of Will Smith, who surprised the boy (and fam) on an episode of his “Will From Home” Snapchat show. Aaron and his family are big Smith fans, they even used to huddle around a phone in the shed to watch his movies, and said ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ gave them strength and hope in that tough time.

“Aaron was carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, and instead of collapsing from the burden, he said ‘How can I help my family?’” Smith said. Smith had him on the show to praise him for the effort behind his growing business, Aaron’s Garden, and for his work to help his family. And, to play a little trivia, along with another Will Smith (Major League Baseball catcher Will Smith).

Naturally, there were prizes, including baseball tickets, an invite to batting practice, a PlayStation 5, and $10,000 cash from Nextdoor. Nextdoor also pledged to advertise Aaron’s business for free.

The family called it one of the best things that have ever happened to them, and that Aaron’s mom couldn’t stop crying.


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A post shared by Aaron M. (@aaronsgarden)

“You are showing us all how to take care of our families,” Smith told Aaron. “Just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Will Smith and Jason Derulo Team up To Give 14-Year-Old With Cancer a PS5

Will Smith Jason Derulo Give ps5 to boy with cancer

There is no better time for an abundance of good news than the holiday season, and no year that it’s been more desperately needed than 2020. From neighbors helping neighbors to strangers helping strangers, we’re here for it all.

When COVID hit, 14-year-old Aiden Yielding’s incredible dad Chuck was no longer able to attend his chemotherapy appointments with him. Aiden is battling leukemia, and his dad has been there for him every step of the way. Despite being unable to be in the room with Aiden during his treatments, Chuck refused to let his son go through his treatments alone. Instead, he wears absurdly bright clothes and does goofy dances outside of his son’s hospital room to let him know he’s not alone.

Chuck’s dedication to supporting his son is heartwarming – so heartwarming in fact, that it got the attention of fellow dad Will Smith. Smith has been hosting an online show called Will From Home, a show he does with Snapchat right from his garage. His goal is to spread joy through doing good deeds, and often brings guests along to make strangers’ days a bit brighter.

After learning about Chuck and Aiden, Smith came up with a plan that gave both father and son something to smile about. Will Smith realized there was nobody better than his friend Jason Derulo to teach Chuck some new dance moves, moves he will undoubtedly show off outside of Aiden’s hospital room window during his next treatment.

As for Aiden, well, he’s a gamer. Since its release, the gaming community has been buzzing about the new PS5. The demand for these brand new gaming systems is incredibly high, with production especially low due to COVID – as a result, getting your hands on one is a struggle, to say the least.

For many of us, gaming is an important escape right now. Battling cancer on top of living in a pandemic world means that gaming has become an increasingly beloved getaway for Aiden. Will Smith is well aware of both Aiden’s love of gaming and the escapism it provides, so he got his new friend the highly-coveted PS5, along with a DualSense wireless controller, and a PSN gift card.

Smith also teamed up with Game Stop Gives to donate a total of $10,000 to a network of children’s hospitals, in honor of just how inspired he was by the father-son duo.

“In honor of the love you guys are putting into this world,” Smith said of his donation. “You’re parenting your child, but you’re parenting all of us. You’re teaching us all how it’s supposed to be.”

In Some Much-Needed Uplifting News, Will Smith and Original Aunt Viv Reconcile

Aunt Viv reunites

Kids who took a lot of sick days in the 90s have some pretty vivid memories of The Banks’s, their second family up in Bel-Air. The Fresh Prince was iconic, not only because it helped launch superstar Will Smith to fame, but because it was a classic in its own right. It put a new spin on the family sitcom genre, and addressed serious issues that other shows steered away from.

There’s been a surprising amount of news about the 30-year-old show recently, from a dramatic reboot to a highly-anticipated 30th anniversary reunion. The original cast was set to return for the reunion special, with a couple exceptions. James Avery (Uncle Phil) tragically passed away in 2013 from complications after open-heart surgery.

The other cast member nobody expected to see was the original Aunt Viv, Janet Hubert, who was replaced three seasons into the show. Hubert claimed that Will Smith was to blame for her removal from the show, and went on to say some, uh, less than kind things about the actor for how he treated her.

Nearly a decade ago, in an interview with TMZ, Hubert adamantly expressed that she would never participate in a reunion for the show. She still harbored resentment towards Smith for whatever happened all those years ago, and seemed ready to put the whole thing behind her.

In the uplifting surprise we all needed (nobody likes to see their family fight), Hubert appeared in HBO Max’s reunion special. Smith explained, “As a family, we have our things that we talk about and then we have our things that we don’t talk about. We never really, together, publicly talk about Janet. And what happened. And, for me, it felt like I couldn’t celebrate 30 years of Fresh Prince without finding a way to celebrate Janet.”

Regardless of what happened between them, Will Smith felt that the Fresh Prince family wasn’t complete without his original Aunt Viv. The heartwarming reunion showed Will Smith and Janet Hubert embrace, a hug that replaced 30 years of resentment and pain with support and understanding.

Hubert explained that she had been in an abusive relationship, which led to her getting pregnant during the third season of the show. With decades of life experience under his belt, Smith realized he’d approached the situation without the compassion it deserved.

After reuniting with Hubert, Smith took time to reflect and spoke to the camera about some realizations he’d made. Smith explained, “I wasn’t perceptive, and now that I’ve had three kids I’ve learned some things that I did not know at the time and I would do things very differently. But I can see where I made the set very difficult for Janet.”

After leaving the show (not because she was fired, but because she refused to accept an unfair deal), Hubert faced several difficult years. Being a Black female actress was difficult in the 90s, but after a star like Will Smith claimed she was hard to work with, it made pursuing her dream nearly impossible.

“And it’s hard enough being a dark-skinned Black woman in this business,” Hubert explained, “But I felt that it was necessary for us to finally move forward. And I’m sorry that I have blasted you to pieces.”

With all cards on the table, finally, the actors were able to put their difficult past behind them. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s 30th-anniversary reunion (which premiered a day early, another unanticipated gift) became far more than a chance for the cast to catch up – it became an opportunity for two important cast members to heal.

As if our hearts weren’t full enough, Smith offered the verbal equivalent of a peace treaty. He turned to his former co-star and said, “You’re still my Aunt Viv.”

Be Thankful for the Fresh Prince Reunion Trailer

Fresh Prince Reunion Trailer
(YouTube/Will Smith)

We may not be getting a lot of the big movies we thought we were going to get in 2020, but we have been getting plenty of TV. We’re also getting plenty of reboots and reunions.

Friends has a reunion coming at some point, The West Wing did a special live reading episode on HBO Max, and now the Fresh Prince cast is back together for their own special on HBO’s streaming service, and we finally have a trailer.

The project was announced months ago, shortly after Smith hosted a virtual reunion, and began filming on the 30th anniversary of the show’s original premiere on NBC. It includes the entire cast, even, as teased on Instagram, a reconciliation with the woman who played the first Aunt Viv.

What else is in store? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Here’s the official synopsis for the reunion:

30 years later, we’re bringing the Banks family back together! Join Will and Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro and DJ Jazzy Jeff, for a funny and heartfelt night full of music and dancing in honor of the show that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes. Streaming November 19 on @HBO Max.

Just in time for Thanksgiving! Here’s the trailer:

Robin Williams’ Kids Give Award To Will Smith’s Family in Memory of Their Dad

Will Smith's family receives award in memory of Robin Williams
(YouTube/Will Smith)

Both personally and professionally, Robin Williams led an incredible life. He made us laugh with his over-the-top stand-up comedy, his hilarious impressions, and his unparalleled humor. Robin Williams was a giver, famously using his talent and time to help people facing life’s many challenges. One story that stands out as emblematic of Williams’s character is how he came to the aid of Christopher Reeve after the horseback riding accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Instead of approaching the situation delicately or with any sort of pity, Williams approached it with humor.

Reeve recalled in his 1996 book “Still Me,” “Then, at an especially bleak moment, the door flew open and in hurried a squat fellow with a blue scrub hat and a yellow surgical gown and glasses, speaking in a Russian accent. He announced that he was my proctologist and that he had to examine me immediately. My first reaction was that either I was on way too many drugs or I was in fact brain damaged.”

That fake proctologist who insisted that Reeve flip over for his exam was, of course, Robin Williams – and unsurprisingly, Williams was the first one able to make the former Superman actor laugh during a time when laughter felt impossible. Robin Williams filled that role for so many who needed it, providing joy when it felt out of reach. While providing levity and hope to those around him, tragically, Williams was struggling with his own mental and physical issues that ultimately led to his death in 2014.

Williams’s incredible kids, Zachary, Cody, and Zelda, have carried on their dad’s legacy by recognizing others who have brought laughter to the world. Every year, the Robin Williams Legacy of Laughter Award is presented to someone in the entertainment industry who makes a positive impact. The Legacy of Laugher Award (LOL Award, was that intentional?) partners with Glenn Close’s nonprofit Bring Change to Mind, which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.

This year’s recipient of the LOL Award was the Smith Family, making them the fourth ever recipients. Will, Jada, and their kids Trey, Willow, and Jaden (via FaceTime) graciously accepted the honor on Monday.

“This year, we wanted to honor the entire Smith family, as individuals and as a whole, for their longstanding contributions to the world,” Zak said. “You’ve held groundbreaking, open discussions about important topics like family, career, and mental health in a world that often expects silence from its most visible citizens.”

Zak continued, “Your charitable acts are many and varied, from feeding the homeless, helping inner-city youth programs, fighting AIDS in South Africa, and bringing safe water to those who need it most. And while doing all that, you still manage to entertain millions with your talents through your films, through your talk show, through music, laughter, and your clear and vibrant family bond.”

As with other recipients of the award, the Smith family embodies some of Robin Williams’s best and brightest characteristics. From their charitable nature to their humor and love for each other, this all-star family is truly deserving of the recognition.

In case you weren’t tearing up yet, Zak references his dad’s connection with Smith after both played the genie in Aladdin. “From one genie family to another,” Zak says, “thanks for sharing your phenomenal cosmic powers with the world.”

Fresh Prince Reunion Photos Feature the Original Aunt Viv

Will With Original Aunt Viv

90s kids rejoice! Not only was it recently announced a dramatic reboot of Will Smith’s iconic Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom would be coming to Peacock next year, but we’re also getting a reunion special for the show’s 30th anniversary.

In fact, the special began filming yesterday, to coincide with the anniversary of the show’s actual launch, and Smith posted a slideshow of two photos to his Instagram. The first one shows the gang all back together, and the second one contains a bit of a surprise.

“Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted!” Smith wrote on Instagram. “So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax! RIP James. #FreshPrince30th”

As you can see in that second image, the original Aunt Viv is back! Sort of.

You may recall that the original Aunt Viv was replaced by a different actress a few years into the show’s run. Janet Hubert played the first Aunt Viv, and when she was ousted, she said some less than kind things about the show and the star at the center of it.

EW recapped the drama, reminding us that Hubert had previously slammed Smith for being an “egomaniac” and causing her to be fired from the show. Smith responded by claiming that Hubert wanted the show to be “The Aunt Viv of Bel-Air,” so things weren’t exactly friendly…

Apparently, time heals all wounds, as one of Smith’s photos shows him sitting and smiling with Hubert.

According to EW, Hubert is not participating in the full reunion with the rest of the cast, but she did have an “emotional reunion and a candid conversation” that will be part of the HBO Max special.

The streaming service describes the reunion a funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and special surprise guests, in honor of the series that ran for six seasons and 148 episodes.” The reunion will air later this fall.

Fresh Prince Cast Is Reuniting for Unscripted Special on HBO Max

Fresh Prince Reunion HBO

Will Smith has had an interesting year. It started with Bad Boys For Life, the successful third entry in the Bad Boys series that helped make Smith a movie star. In the early days of the pandemic, Smith put together a Zoom-type of reunion with his Fresh Prince pals via his social channels.

Then last month, news broke that Smith’s production company was working with a clever filmmaker behind a viral trailer to reboot Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the classic 90s sitcom that confirmed Smith as a gifted actor, into an hour-long drama.

And now Smith is prepping to film an unscripted reunion of Fresh Prince for HBO Max, with the entire remaining cast of the show, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Variety has the story of the special, which will start filming as early as September 10th for release around Thanksgiving.

Joining the Fresh Prince will be all of his costars: series regulars Tatyana Ali, Karyn Parsons, Joseph Marcell, Daphne Maxwell Reid, Alfonso Ribeiro, and even Smith’s musical partner in crime, DJ Jazzy Jeff. Missing from the episode will obviously, and unfortunately, be James Avery, the late actor who played Will’s beloved Uncle Phil.

After an iconic 150-episode run from 1990-1996, Smith left the sitcom that made him a household name to dominate Hollywood with a string of blockbusters that include the first Bad Boys, Men in Black, and Independence Day.

Lately, it seems the superstar is embracing the roles that made him famous, from Mike Lowery to the Fresh Prince, and if this reunion does half as well as January’s buddy cop reunion, it might be time for Smith to put out another album and keep riding the wave.

Fresh Prince Rebooting as Drama Thanks to Viral Gritty Trailer

Fresh Prince Gets a Gritty Upgrade
(YouTube/Sun Squared Media)

A year ago, we shared a trailer for a fake reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Unlike most fan-made trailers that reimagine and/or update beloved shows and movies, this trailer was made by a bona fide filmmaker, and the finished product was slick, professional, and provocative. It took the characters and basic fish-out-of-water set-up of the classic 90s sitcom that made Will Smith a household name and helped him crossover from the music industry into dramatic roles. The “gritty reboot” is old hat, but Cooper’s version was far more legitimate than most, and it got people thinking.

That thinking has coalesced into something real, and now Cooper’s vision is coming true. THR broke the news that Cooper was co-writing the script to a series reboot, and this time the Fresh Prince will be a drama.

Apparently, this project has been in the works since the four-minute trailer went viral last March and Smith caught wind of it. Suitably impressed, he got his production company involved, and now the show is in development.

THR describes the new series as “an hourlong dramatic retelling of the beloved ’90s sitcom that leans into the original premise of Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show.”

Cooper is both co-writing and serving as executive producer, and as a filmmaker and Fresh Prince superfan, he struck gold.

Stay tuned for more news as the project develops, and check out the trailer that started the whole thing:

Reunited Fresh Prince Cast Gets Emotional Watching Clips of Late James Avery

Cast's Emotional Reaction to James Avery

The other day, Will Smith posted a special two-part episode of his Snapchat show, Will At Home. He’s been using the show to keep people, including himself, entertained during this interminable quarantine, and he had a special surprise for his fans: a cast reunion of the show that kickstarted his Hollywood career.

Smith recruited nearly the entire cast of his classic 90s sitcom, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, including the Fresh Prince himself, Alfonso Riberio (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), and Karyn Parson (Hilary Banks). Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey the butler, Daphne Maxwell Reid (Vivian Banks), and Smith’s musical partner in crime, DJ Jazzy Jeff.

There was one notable exception, however, and that was James Avery, who played Uncle Phil. You may remember him from the show’s most iconic scene, in which Uncle Phil embraces Will to comfort him after his father leaves again, which had its own 25-year anniversary in 2018.

Avery died of complications following heart surgery in 2013, at the age of 68, and the cast clearly remembers him fondly. On the Will At Home reunion, the actors took a moment to reminisce about their beloved costar. A montage of memorable moments featuring Avery as Uncle Phil played as the cast watched on their computers, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

You can tell how much the cast loves and misses the late actor, and how meaningful this moment was. Especially the end of the clip, which features Avery hugging each one of them.

Check out the clip, and the cast members’ reactions to it:

Will Smith Hosts a Virtual Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion

Fresh Prince Virtual Reunion

With movies and TV suspending production during the pandemic (with the exception of animated shows), many in Hollywood find themselves with a lot of free time. John Krasinski started a YouTube show to help fill his and to help others survive, and he’s not alone. Will Smith created “Will From Home” on Snapchat to keep us, and himself, entertained.

The other day, Smith had a bit of a surprise for followers of his show, especially if they were fans of his other show, the classic 90s sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

The cast virtually reunited on Snapchat, including the Fresh Prince himself, Alfonso Riberio (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), and Karyn Parson (Hilary Banks). Joseph Marcell, who played Geoffrey the butler, Daphne Maxwell Reid (Vivian Banks), and even Smith’s old musical partner, DJ Jazzy Jeff, popped by during the two-part reunion to reminisce about the good old days.

Jazzy Jeff admits to being annoyed at a particular fan request: “I got really, really annoyed that everybody wanted to do the handshake. You would see in people eyes when they were about to do the handshake and I would just grab their hand and hold it. Besides that, I’m good.”

We also got a fun tidbit of FP trivia regarding Will’s character’s name:

Notably absent from the reunion was James Avery, aka Uncle Phil, who passed away in 2013. But the cast paid an emotional tribute to him.

Will Smith’s Production Company Making Fresh Prince Spin-off

Fresh Prince Spin-Off

It was only a matter of time. For decades, Hollywood has been plumbing old successes in an attempt to recapture lightning in a bottle, and over the past ten years, the reliance on the tried-and-true has been more rampant than ever. Existing IP (intellectual property) – whether books, comic books, outdated TV shows or movies – has become the basis for more and more “new” content. With streaming services multiplying like Gremlins, the need for programming to fill their slates is devouring everything in its sight.

No stone is being left unturned in the hunt for new shows, including remakes and reboots and reimaginings. The latest example? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

That’s right, there’s a new show about our favorite former-West Philadelphian on the way, and as of now, it’s being classified as neither a remake nor a reboot but as a spin-off. And get this? The Fresh Prince himself is going to be involved.

The project is actually being launched via Will Smith’s own production company, Westbrook, and while the extent of the superstar actor’s involvement remains unclear, at the very least it has his blessing. For fans of the original show – that launched Smith’s acting career – that’s definitely a good thing.

Again, details on the new version are few and far between – the entire scoop is from one sentence in a Hollywood Reporter story on Smith, and neither casting nor plot nor platform is known – but remember that slick trailer for a gritty reboot of the series that filmmaker Morgan Cooper put together last year? Apparently Smith has met with the director!

No one knows for sure what they discussed, but after years of putting the kibosh on any Fresh Prince reboot rumors, suddenly Smith has changed his tune, and that may be good news for fans of the classic series. Especially if the tune to the theme song doesn’t change.

Will Smith Turned Down The Matrix, But You Can Still Watch Him As Neo

Will Smith as Neo Deepfake

Thanks to the terrifying technology behind deepfakes, people in videos can be replaced with just about anyone. Sure, some examples are fun and goofy, but others are simply unnerving.

Take this video featuring Will Smith (or his face, at least) standing in for Keanu Reeves as Neo in the 1999 action hit, The Matrix.

So, there it is. How are you feeling? Was Keanu’s California-accented voice emanating from Smith’s lips disturbing? Did his floppy mop of ’90s hair send shivers down to your very soul?

The clips are products of YouTuber Sham00k, who is known for his work creating frighteningly realistic deepfakes. Simply slapping Smith’s face on top Keanu’s, it’s hard to find many flaws, but the performance is totally off for it to be believable.

Back in the 90s, Smith was known for his quippy one-liners from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and films like Bad Boys and Men in Black. He was the last person you’d expect to play the role of the pensive and often confused Neo, which is what makes it so interesting that he was nearly cast for the role.

Warner Bros. Studios actually preferred Smith over Reeves and offered him the role outright, but a meeting with the Wachowskis left him more skeptical than excited. Smith elaborated more on his YouTube channel:

Long story short, he turned down the role of Neo to work on… *sigh* …Wild Wild West.

Obviously, a regretful move, but Smith admits there’s no way he could have improved the final product that the Wachowskis unveiled.

“Keanu was perfect. Lawrence Fishburn was perfect,” Smith explained. “If I had done it—because I’m black—then Morpheus wouldn’t have been black because they were looking at Val Kilmer… I probably would have messed The Matrix up. I would have ruined it. So I did y’all a favor.”

I won’t go so far as to say the film would have been ruined had the casting been different, but I will say that Will and Keanu should never trade hairstyles. Humanity’s savior just can’t look like that, you guys.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are Bad Boys For Life

Bad Boys For Life Trailer
(YouTube/Will Smith)

It’s the era of existing IP. Every book, TV show, or movie that ever made a dollar is being put back into service as an adaptation, a remake, or a sequel. The MCU uses comic books, HBO used more than one popular fantasy book series (Game of Thrones and the upcoming His Dark Materials) and Keanu Reeves uses The Matrix.

Now we’re also getting another Bad Boys movie! That’s right, Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett are back, as are original stars Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, because why should The Matrix be the only 90s blockbuster that gets a new sequel?

Here’s the synopsis:

“Old-school cops Mike Lowery and Marcus Burnett team up to take down the vicious leader of a Miami drug cartel. Newly created elite team AMMO of the Miami police department along with Mike and Marcus go up against the ruthless Armando Armas.”

And today they released a trailer for the movie, which debuts in January, and it contains all the profanity, banter, gunplay, and explosions you’d expect from a Bad Boys flick. There’s even a highway chase scene, this time with a helicopter instead of a shitload of bouncing cars like in Bad Boys 2’s legendary sequence.

There’s no Michael Bay behind the camera – this is co-directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah – but they brought back Joey Pants! Bad Boys For Life ain’t messing around.

Check it out: