Hey everyone! Karyn Parsons here. I’m in NY, and my dear friend and little sis, Tatyana Ali, is here too, Skyping from Los Angeles. We're posting a bunch of video responses!

Ta and I played sisters on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and since then have remained close. Tatyana’s been doing a lot of acting since. From starring in her own t.v. show (Love That Girl) to just finishing up shooting on the Queen Latifah-produced film, November Rule. Musically, Ta has just released the wonderful EP “Hello.”

I, on the other hand, after acting in The Ladies Man, and co-starring on The Job with Denis Leary, cut back on my acting to focus on my nonprofit, Sweet Blackberry. The mission of getting little-known stories of African American achievement to kids has been my passion for some time. Ever since my mother, a librarian, told me these stories, I’ve felt the need to get them out to the public at large. We’ve been so fortunate to have Queen Latifah and Alfre Woodard narrate our first two animated short films, and I’m overjoyed to have Chris Rock set to narrate the third in the series.

We’re currently working on a Kickstarter campaign for Sweet Blackberry to raise funds for its next animated film for kids about the First African American Prima Ballerina, narrated by Chris Rock: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/798791271/the-janet-collins-story-presented-by-sweet-blackbe

We have a bunch of very cool rewards for you guys:

  • Lunch with the Fresh Prince cast
  • a shopping spree with Tatyana and me
  • personalized voicemails from Will Smith, Chris Rock and Joe Marcell (Geoffrey the butler!)
  • signed DVDs

You can even watch your favorite episode of Fresh Prince with some of the cast at an exclusive screening in LA and then ask us all those behind-the-scenes questions you’ve always pondered. Or if you can’t make it out to LA, we added a $50 live feed option today for Reddit.

And since Sweet Blackberry is a non-profit, all donations are tax deductible!

I want to give a huge Thank You to everyone who has supported Ta and me over the years. And, thanks to all of you here today! Let’s go!

Comments: 319 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

KarynParsons213 karma

Keep the questions coming guys! We're still here. What else do you want to know?

KarynParsons47 karma

Also, we still have some of the better Kickstarter rewards left:

  • Interactive screening of your favorite episode of Fresh Prince with the cast, along with a Q&A (or live feed for $50)

  • Voicemails from Chris Rock, Carlton, Geoffrey the butler, and Jada Pinkett-Smith

  • Shopping spree with Tatyana and me!

Pleasestaywendy151 karma

aunt viv 1 or 2?

KarynParsons216 karma

Well, here's my concern about #1.... (about halfway through)

Edit: forgot the video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srlkvo0HI7w&feature=youtu.be

xcmt113 karma

Boy Meets World is getting a modern reboot in the form of Girl Meets World. Exactly how much money do I have to throw at somebody in Hollywood to make Fresh Princess of Bel Air happen? Will accept answer in USD or total tons.

KarynParsons219 karma

Everyone always talks about the reunion. It's a nice thought but...I didn't see it happening before, and now that we lost James, it's even tougher.

I did propose a show where we could have a reunion....everyone got wiped out. It was very dark. We would all be going our different ways - Hilary was moving to New York to do her talk show, Ashley was coming with her to work with her, Carlton was going to law school, Will was going to Philly I think, everyone's doing all these different things...and all of a sudden, we're all in the family room, and suddenly all you see is the muzzle and then just machine gun fire everywhere. And Geoffrey's like "good lord, no!" And it would go on way way way too long, and we're all down, and there's just smoke everywhere, and you see some feet walk in, and you pan up, and it's...it's the first mom. Will thought I was insane. -Karyn

That's worth doing. We have to do that for real. -Tatyana

KarynParsons61 karma

Also, what do you guys think of the Girl Meets World reboot? Are you happy it was made or do you feel it tarnishes your memories?

KarynParsons37 karma

LeSeanMcoy64 karma

Question for Tatyana: There were several episodes where Ashley was singing and doing it really well. Was that actually your voice or was that some post-production magic?

KarynParsons90 karma

That was me! I sang Respect at one of our wrap parties. We went bowling at the end of one season. And our script supervisor asked me to sing two songs. First she asked me to sing "She Works Hard For the Money". (She was a couple beers in and she was like "Sing my song!") And then I sang Respect. And the season after that is when they put that song in the show.


KarynParsons79 karma

For people that don't know Tatyana's been singing a long time, they HAVE to go on YouTube and look up Tatyana star search. She was a star search champion! You have to see this little girl...it's the cutest thing. For awhile, Lana (my daughter) and I were playing it a bunch of times, and I could NOT get it out of my head.


Frajer55 karma

What was Geoffrey like offscreen?

KarynParsons109 karma

He's actually a prankster too. But in a very dry, sleight-of-hand way. Like you don't realize he's done something until it's done.

citoloco51 karma

Who was the biggest jerk on the FPBA set?

KarynParsons171 karma

Alfonso (Carlton). He used to snap my training bra. -Tatyana

Reasonable_Dan48 karma

Karyn, you were my main crush growing up. I'm actually a little intimidated right now. haha

Any fun stories from making Major Payne?

KarynParsons67 karma

Damon is one of the funniest, most insane human beings. At one point they had to put a scrim between us because he had to deliver his lines and I kept cracking up and blowing his take.

If you watch the movie, you see my bangs change quite a bit because I got bit by something and I had this huge, huge egg-shaped bruise in my forehead.


westish1347 karma

Were there any storylines that you wished the show got a chance to explore?

KarynParsons150 karma

More "Very Special Episodes". -Tatyana

You already had the really good ones! The first kiss, the virginity ones. -Karyn

You didn't have any Very Special Episodes? -Tatyana

Well certainly not any virginity ones. Tramp. -Karyn

EngineOfThomas44 karma

Who does the Carlton dance better, you or Tatyana?

I'm expecting a video dance-off response =)

KarynParsons68 karma

Here's a video explain-why-we-can't-do-it-off response =)


ajb199043 karma

Do you guys have a particular favorite memory of James Avery?

KarynParsons118 karma

The birkenstocks! A particular favorite...gosh. I have so many. I actually had a dream about James the other night. A real dream. It was great.

I remember him falling asleep on the living room couch on set. And then we'd tickle his feet and he'd wake up and get pissed at us.

Also when he got his house. He climbed a huge gate to get into this house he wanted to buy before he bought it. And he wanted us all to see it. So we had to stand and watch guard for the police while he broke us in.

  • Karyn

JamesC8139 karma

Tatyana can I have a selfie from you? You're just too cute!

imeancomeon38 karma

I am a huge fan of you both and loved Fresh Prince. This question is for both, how difficult was it to film in front of live studio audience and would you have preferred not having one? Thanks

KarynParsons63 karma

Oh I loved it. Early in the day we filmed without the audience, just to have a good clean pass of the show. And then we'd film at night in front of the audience, and I feel like everything was just heightened. -Tatyana

Yeah, they could never use the daytime stuff in editing because the energy just didn't match. It was a totally different thing. But I'll tell you, when we did the very first episode, I was so nervous I was praying for an earthquake. And sure enough, I went out and I was the first person to make a mistake. -Karyn

KarynParsons73 karma

Also Will would mouth our lines back to us during the show in the early seasons, but only in front of the live audience. You can actually see this if you watch early episodes. -Karyn

EdwinTheEntertainer37 karma

You are both still very recognizable figures, do y'all find it difficult to do normal things like grocery shop, clubbing, or otherwise just "be" without the difficulty of dealing with well meaning but annoying fans, or is it not as difficult as one would think?

DogWhopper32 karma

I used to go to every single taping of Fresh Prince with my friends, seasons 2-4. We used to try and out laugh each other so we could hear it later on TV. Anyway, I saw you at a homeless benefit in Hollywood once and my mom embarrassed the shit out of me because I had wanted to ask you out. Tatyana will you go out on a date with me?

KarynParsons36 karma

What kind of dog do you have?

LeSeanMcoy31 karma

What were you guys told about your characters going into the show?

KarynParsons58 karma

I was told I had to rap. And that she wore a blazer. -Tatyana

I was told that she was a "model type". I remember thinking how ridiculous that was. Not only was I not a model type, I didn't even have any clothes that would make me look like I could fake a model type. And I wore some big dress, some big hangy thing to the audition. And once I got a callback I kept wearing the same thing. So the model thing went out the window when I got cast. - Karyn

ImagineIfYouCan31 karma

Who was the biggest prankster on the set?
Did Uncle Phil assume the father role?
How much teasing did Carlton have to endure from Will?

KarynParsons78 karma

Will. For sure. He mooned James Avery.

ecar30 karma

Has Will changed in the years since he has become a movie star?

KarynParsons58 karma

He's more gray. -Tatyana

KarynParsons51 karma

He's very busy, but when you get him, and you get to spend time with him, I don't find him to be different at all. It's the same. -Tatyana

I completely agree. I saw him in December and he seemed very comfortable in his skin, very relaxed. -Karyn

NorbitGorbit30 karma

what was craft service like on the show; which shows had the best food?

KarynParsons41 karma

Ours had a LOT but I certainly wouldn't call it the best. It was like...macaroni salad. And twix. For some reason that's all I think of. It's probably really unfair to them.

KarynParsons44 karma

I tried to change my diet at one point and it was the WORST for doing it. There were like no vegetables. Maybe cooked corn. I'm sure things have changed now. The guy who did craft service for us was really nice, though. It satisfied some people but man...if you were looking for a vegetable.

NorbitGorbit40 karma

twix is a vegetable.

KarynParsons93 karma

Technically it's two vegetables!

still_sick28 karma

What's your favourite memory from your time working on Fresh Prince of Bel Air?

KarynParsons42 karma


Did that work? I have no idea what I'm doing.

KabooshSC6 karma

Video is currently unavailable, for me atleast.

KarynParsons16 karma

How about now?

rockwellsteady27 karma

Karyn I just saw your campaign! What is Sweet Blackberry?

KarynParsons40 karma

Thanks for checking it out! I wrote a bit about it above, but Sweet Blackberry is a nonprofit I started to spread stories about African-African American achievements to kids through all sorts of mediums. I want the next generation to understand that tremendous obstacles can actually be opportunities for greatness. I run the organization out of New York, and Tatyana is on the board.

In this case, we're hoping to tell the story of Janet Collins, the first black prima ballerina. If we hit our Kickstarter goal, Chris Rock will narrate the movie!

rockwellsteady27 karma

Karyn, I love youuuuu. What are you doing these days?

KarynParsons50 karma

I have a couple of rugrats. And Sweet Blackberry! I'm dedicating most of my time and energy to that (aside from my kids, of course). Tatyana's on the board. Sistas helping sistas.

Lion_on_the_floor25 karma

Imagine your characters in the modern day, what do you think they'd be doing for a living and what would their lives be like?

KarynParsons42 karma

Can you imagine Hilary? What the hell would happen to her? -Karyn

She'd be in the Himalayas somewhere meditating. -Tatyana

Ashley started doing Broadway. Tatyana

hilariousness12325 karma

What was your favorite episode to air? I've recently been rewatching fresh prince on Netflix and I must say it is way more enjoyable to watch being able to understand the humor

KarynParsons55 karma

When I had to bark like a dog, when I got blackmailed for not going to college. I also learned how much the audience hated me during that episode. They didn't just clap...they started STOMPING. -Karyn

Mine was the episode where I actually got the chance to go to Bel-Air prep. I was like "oooh I get to go to high school too!" Just like in real life. "I get to be on set with the guys!"

I also like the episode where Ashley is being bullied. And where she likes a guy and gets all dressed up and stuffs her bra with tissue paper, and ends up crying using those tissues. -Tatyana

sorryiamnothere20 karma

How tall is Carlton now?

KarynParsons68 karma

You do realize he was already a grown man when he was on the show, right? :-) He didn't grow more! -Karyn

EdwinTheEntertainer20 karma

Do you have a podcast , if not have you ever considered doing one ?

KarynParsons40 karma

For what? You guys want to watch us hang out? -Karyn

ShuggaCheez17 karma

Who's your favorite to win the World Cup?

KarynParsons37 karma

USA! This is going to be huge. I feel like this is the only time where rooting for the USA is rooting for the underdogs. We watch soccer a lot in my house. Both my parents are immigrants. -Tatyana

I don't have any time to watch soccer unfortunately. I want to watch so bad. Making this film is all I have time for! - Karyn

KarynParsons78 karma

Update: Well so much for that. -Tatyana

DoctorDetroit816 karma

Did either of you keep/steal anything from the set for mementos? And what happened to everything that wasn't kept? Were they sold/donated? I hope someone kept Will and Carlton's famous outfits from their Apache Dance!


KarynParsons38 karma

No joke, they tried to sell us our own clothes back to us at the end! Even clothes that were designed for and tailored for me. I'd see a crew member or an extra wearing them and I'd be like...those are my clothes! -Tatyana

Soldier3115 karma

to Ms. Parsons and Ms. Ali- Do you think crowd sourcing will result in better quality roles for actresses such as yourselves?

KarynParsons21 karma

Oh that's an interesting question! Yes, definitely. I think when the people are making decisions -- "this is something we feel is important, do this not that" -- you end up with better films. We're able to make projects that nobody else would make, that wouldn't get out there otherwise.

WyrmSaint15 karma

Tatyana, when you went on The Eric Andre Show, did you have an idea of what the interview was going to be like beforehand?



KarynParsons24 karma

KarynParsons15 karma

We got Tatyana's video working! :)

Compley14 karma

Who's your fantasy choice to narrate a Sweet Blackberry film?

KarynParsons24 karma

Chris Rock is going to narrate this film if we meet the goal! Where do you go from there?! He was so good at the BET awards. He's just so smart. And he has girls; it's so clear that he cares about the subject.

LeSeanMcoy14 karma

What was the set like filming the last episode?

KarynParsons35 karma

It was really sad. REALLY sad. I remember my exit being SO hard. I didn't want to get my lines right because I didn't want it to end. -Karyn

KarynParsons35 karma

Seeing the set with no furniture, completely empty, was seriously devastating. -Tatyana

palookaJoe14 karma


KarynParsons19 karma

John Ridley (academy award winner this year) was great. Eddie was great. There are so many writers though. It was such a group effort. Rob Edwards. A lot of really good people. Andy and Susan Borowitz, who started the show, were like mom and pop. Andy writers for the New Yorker now.

TheLandBeforeBosh13 karma

How did you end up getting cast in your respective parts?

KarynParsons22 karma


We're having some trouble with Tatyana's video portion but hopefully you can hear it!

Omegaki31412 karma

I grew up watching The fresh prince seeing as I was born in the 90's. So you could say I watched you ladies grow as well. I got a lot of knowledge from the show and some humor.

This question is for the both of you..

What is something you two have learned on set that you took as a life lesson?

lanjevenson11 karma

What are your favorite things to cook for dinner?

KarynParsons24 karma

Beef and kale. Check out my podcast about it soon :)

Sil36910 karma

can you please do a video response of your version of the Carlton dance?!

Jerbattimus10 karma

Tatyana: In Fresh Prince when you did the commercial where you were in a bathing suit, and Uncle Phil came in and handed it to that mean girl by talking about her horse hair weave, what did that feel like?

KarynParsons18 karma

We are very confused by this question because we don't think they had weaves in the 90's :)

geekosoreass10 karma

Do you feel network television has become more, or less diverse since fresh prince was on the air?

KarynParsons28 karma

I think it happens in waves, unfortunately. So for a second it got less diverse. (It was more than a second, actually.) And now we're on an upswing again. -Tatyana

With the success of a few shows, people are getting excited. They're thinking "gosh maybe this DOES work." It's crazy. Cosby was a huge sensation for such a long time. You'd think they'd start to get it. People are ready for this. They want it in their homes. Everybody....it's not just black people that want to watch black people. -Karyn

TrillOReilly9 karma

Tatyana, how was your experience on the Eric Andre Show?

KarynParsons12 karma

Video response from a related question! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZW8RpYsZ2M&feature=youtu.be

jmmt0076 karma

What kind of store would you and Tatyana Ali prefer to go shopping? (Considering it's one of the pledges for the kickstarter project) Loved you in Fresh Prince :) Thank you both for doing this AMA.

KarynParsons14 karma

Depends where we go! If it's in New York, I'd love to go to NoHo. -Karyn

[deleted]-1 karma


KarynParsons5 karma

She was never a guest star! She did audition though.