Will Smith Celebrates 30th Anniversary of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ With Heartfelt Cast Reunion Pics

Now, this is a story all about how our lives got flipped turned right-side-up ever since Will Smith posted a pair of heartfelt reunion photos from the 30th anniversary of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which included the original Aunt Viv.

The main actor shared some snapshots from the original set of the Banks mansion with his former co-stars Alfonso Ribeiro (Carlton Banks), Tatyana Ali (Ashley Banks), Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks), Daphne Maxwell Reid (Aunt Viv), Joseph Marcell (Geoffrey), and DJ Jazzy Jeff (Jazz). Fans were shocked to see his private reunion with Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv for the family sitcom’s first three seasons before being replaced by Maxwell Reid, after she publicly criticized him and the show for decades with claims of mistreatment during (and leading up to) her exit.

It was the first time in 27 years that the two got together for what HBO Max described as “an emotional reunion and a candid conversation” in a news release.

“Today is exactly 30 YEARS since The @FreshPrince of Bel-Air debuted! So we’re doin’ something for y’all… a for real Banks Family Reunion is comin’ soon to @HBOmax!” Smith wrote on Instagram yesterday (Sept. 10), while paying tribute to the late actor James Avery (Uncle Phil) who died in 2013 due to open-heart surgery complications. “RIP James. #FreshPrince30th.”

HBO Max described the reunion special, which is being developed by Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s media company Westbrook Media, as “a funny and heartfelt night full of music, dancing, and more special surprise guests.” It will launch exclusively on the new streaming platform around Thanksgiving, which also acquired the original series. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air ran for six seasons on NBC from 1990 to 1996.

Smith and the crew first got back together in April for an episode of his Snapchat Discover series Will From Home.

Additionally, a dramatic reboot titled Bel-Air already got the green light for two seasons on Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service. The hour-long episodes seek to dig deeper into “Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air.”

See Smith return to his throne as the Prince of Bel-Air with the whole Banks clan by his side below.

Executive Turntable: WMG Names Head of Investor Relations, FUGA Makes Key Leadership Hires

Warner Music Group has hired Kareem Chin as senior vp head of investor relations effective immediately. Chin arrives at WMG from iHeartMedia, where he served in the same role.

Chin, whose appointment follows WMG’s recent IPO, will lead the company’s investor relations efforts and work closely with the company’s finance and corporate communications teams. He will also oversee key events, including quarterly earnings calls and attendance at investor conferences.

At iHeartMedia, which he joined as it was emerging from bankruptcy, Chin developed and built out the company’s investor relations function as it explored listing options and later made its debut on the Nasdaq exchange. Prior to that, he was vp investor relations at Viacom, a role that followed over a decade in investment banking.

 


 

Music distributor FUGA has made three key senior hires: Craig May, who joins as global head of streaming & marketing services; Manan Vohra, who boards as global head of technology and product; and Rob Webb, who has been brought on as head of product.

May, who is based in London, brings over 20 years of industry experience to his role, including stints at Kartel Music Group, Red Bull Records and Ditto Music. In his new position, he will lead FUGA’s multi-region marketing team, managing the growth, development, execution and measurement of digital marketing strategies in collaboration with FUGA clients.

The Amsterdam-based Vohra previously served as CTO at 7digital. At FUGA, he will be responsible for aligning the product and technology vision and operations.

Webb will report directly to Manan as he manages FUGA’s team of product owners. He was previously vp, digital operations & supply chain at AWAL for four years.

 


 

Artist manager Trenton Harrison-Lewis has joined Warner Music UK as senior vp artist and label development, a newly created role that extends to ADA UK, Warner Music UK’s independent label services division.

In the role, Harrison-Lewis will develop new and emerging artists at ADA UK while also collaborating closely with the A&R and marketing teams at Warner Music UK on their work with both developing and established artists. He will simultaneously continue independently managing several of his current artists, including Giggs, Ghetts, Sneakbo, Jesse James Solomon and DJ Target.

Harrison-Lewis launched his music industry career in 1987 working with British hip-hop duo Wee Papa Girl Rappers before being hired as managing director at Rush Management Europe, the artist management wing of Def Jam Recordings. He left Rush Management in 1997 to work with several influential drum and bass artist-producers, including Goldie and Grooverider. In 2009, he joined Metropolis Music Management, where he was part of the team behind Amy Winehouse. Since departing Metropolis, he has worked as an independent manager.

 


 

Allegra Willis Knerr has been promoted to senior vp sych licensing at BMG. Willis Knerr will report directly to Stephane Hubert, chief of staff for BMG North America, and work alongside Jonathan Palmer, BMG’s senior vp creative synch in the U.S., as well as the company’s international synch licensing teams.

Willis Knerr joined BMG in 2011 after the company acquired Bug Music, where she worked in film and TV licensing roles for two years. Over nearly a decade, she has led teams in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto in growing BMG’s synch licensing business.

 


 

Digital music distribution and publishing admin company TuneCore has hired Maria Ho-Burge as global communications director. Ho-Burge will jointly report to TuneCore chief marketing officer Andreea Gleeson and Segolene Moreau, chief communications officer at TuneCore’s parent company Believe.

Ho-Burge arrives at TuneCore after working as an independent PR and marketing consultant for recording artists and lifestyle brands. She previously spent 11 years as vp global corporate communications at Universal Music Group, where she worked across all UMG divisions and labels on both external and internal communications. Prior to that, she headed up communications at Jive Records and Zomba.

 


 

Los Angeles-based music management firm Friends At Work has promoted Jessica Breslow to A&R manager.

In her new role, Breslow will work closely with Friends At Work managers to shape the company’s roster and lend her song development expertise to a wide range of projects.

Since joining Friends At Work in 2013, Breslow has served as day-to-day manager for Lindsey Stirling and worked with Ruthanne, Frawley and Speelburg. She also placed songs on John Legend’s most recent album, Bigger Love.

Breslow started her career at Pulse Music Group, where she worked with Starrah, Matoma and Kaytranada. She later moved to Warner Chappell’s pop A&R department, where she worked with Ian Kirkpatrick, Scott Harris, busbee and Cheat Codes.

 


 

Triller has tapped an all-woman lineup of music executives to serve on its first advisory board. They are: Lionfish Entertainment’s Rebeca Leon, Spotify’s Rosa Asciola, Columbia Records’ Jenifer Mallory and Phylicia Fant, APG’s Elyse Rogers, EMPIRE’s Tina Davis, Sal & Co./Maverick’s Dina Sahim, Prescription Songs’ Rhea Pasricha, Live Nation’s Allison Maccio, Emagen Entertainment Group’s Ebonie Ward, Heads Music’s Madeline Nelson and Last Kings Records’ Kaily Nash.

“Triller’s core audience actually leans about 70% female, and when we took a look at our investors and our leadership team, we saw mostly men,” said Triller chairman Bobby Sarnevesht in a statement announcing the advisory board. “How can we speak to our female audience if we aren’t also looking at it from the perspective of a female? I am thrilled to bring in Kaily Nash to help us put together this dynamic list of women based on her connections and foresight into who would best integrate with Triller.”

“These women were not only picked because they are gamechangers within the industry, but picked for who they are as people outside of the industry,” added Nash, who helped recruit the advisory board’s women members. “We wanted to showcase diversity across various segments of music, and give these women a voice within Triller. We are honored that each of these incredible women said yes to helping push Triller forward into its future.”

Male executives will be brought onto the Triller advisory board in the coming weeks.

 


 

Ariel Rechtshaid’s commercial synch company Heavy Duty Projects has tapped Maura Gaudio as director of business development (a newly created position) and Sebastian Ade as associate producer. They are both based in New York.

Gaudio will lead business development, strategy and partnerships at Heavy Duty, while Ade will join the company’s team of producers as they broaden their work with blue chip brands and agencies.

Gaudio most recently served as founder and managing partner at experiential and marketing studio Happening Entertainment, where she brokered partnerships and produced on behalf of festivals, artists and brands including Bumble, CAVA, Participant Media, Focus Features, Hypebeast, Calvin Klein for Something Special Studios, Time’s Up, Moncler and All Things Go Festival. Prior to that, she worked on partnerships for Cara Lewis Group and at MAC Presents and had a stint on the agency side of IPF Mediabrands. Her past work incudes Uber’s “Road to Best Nominee” Grammy commercial featuring Khalid and the Foo Fighters’ Cal Jam music festival.

Ade has worked in various production roles in advertising and entertainment, including gigs at Saatchi & Saatchi, The Webby Awards and Ogilvy, where he facilitated synchs for Ikea, Xfinity and IBM’s Grammys spot. He is also a music artist.

 


 

Super Hi-Fi, which uses AI to amplify the digital listening experience by embedding personalized content between songs, has brought on Tristan Jehan as a strategic advisor on music science and technology matters.

Jehan previously co-founded Echo Nest and later served as principal scientist and head of research at Spotify.

“The future of audio experiences goes well beyond the playlist,” said Jehan in a statement. “Super Hi-Fi is showing the way by deploying intelligent AI production tools and technologies, including content programming and smooth content transitions.”

Super Hi-Fi most recently formed partnerships with Sonos, Play Network and TouchTunes and won the Midemlab Startup Competition in June. Its AI platform currently executes over one billion audio transitions per month for its clients.

 


 

Synchtank, the SaaS platform for managing entertainment assets, metadata and royalties, has hired three new executives to work with its recently launched royalty accounting platform IRIS. They are: Janet Landrum, who joins as royalties specialist; Dr. Nick Beitner as lead architect; and Carlos da Costa as senior developer.

Landrum, who will lead the development of the IRIS platform, spent over two decades at 20th Century Fox, where she most recently served as executive director, royalties. In that role, she worked with the studio’s extensive catalog of film and TV music and processed income and outgoing publishing royalties. She has also worked at Windswept Pacific and BMI.

A 25-year veteran in engineering end to end software database systems, Beitner spent the last eight years designing and architecting a fintech services platform. Da Costa specializes in large scale technical web architecture and development.

First Country: New Music From Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Combs, FGL, Mickey Guyton & More

Kelsea Ballerini, Ballerini

Ballerini takes March’s Kelsea album and reinvents the songs on this companion set. Recorded during lockdown, the 13 tracks are stripped down and led primarily by acoustic guitar. The reinterpretation allows a new vulnerability to come through, even on lighthearted, jaunty tracks like “Hole In the Bottle” and “Overshare.” “homecoming queen?,” already spare in its original form, switches from an acoustic guitar to a piano-led melody here to lend an extra air of fragility. Former duets, “Half of My Hometown,” which featured Kenny Chesney, and “The Other Girl,” which featured Halsey, turn into affecting solo efforts.

Luke Combs, “Lovin’ On You”

For the video for his recent Country Airplay No. 1, Combs, his bandmates and new wife Nicole travel back to 1996 and a night at the local roller skating rink, where an adolescent Combs is already smitten and pining over his future partner. Though she initially has no time for him, Combs wins her over by the end, in part, due to his mad skills playing the guitar in a video game. The flashbacks interweave with the current day Combs performing the song with his band.

FGL, “Long Live”http

These are among the things that the Florida Georgia Line guys honor with a raised glass on the chorus of “Long Live”: small town folks, hard workers, dirt roads, longneck bottles, women in cut-up jeans, and of course, “nights like these.” The latest from FGL is a celebration of a simple way of life, but it’s a relatable anthem for anyone who’s stayed up too late toasting life’s minor miracles, regardless of one’s affinity for “that old-school Haggard and Hank.” Give credit to Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard for blending the authentic details of their upbringing with a sense of universal wonder — it’s what Florida Georgia Line has always done, and no doubt they’ll find more success with their latest sing-along.— Jason Lipshutz, First Stream

Chris Janson, “Waitin’ on Five”

Janson’s radio follow up to No. 1, “Done,” is a toe-tapping, irresistible ode to quitting time and kicking off a weekend of drinking. As he sings, he’s just “waitin’ on five, to start on six.” (PBR, no doubt). Sure to be a standard in Janson’s live show (when they become a thing again) and on jukeboxes in bars across the land.

Dan + Shay, “I Should Probably Go To Bed (Live at Ocean Way)”

Dan + Shay’s gorgeous, layered ballad gets stripped down to just piano and vocals and it still shines like a diamond, primarily due to Shay Mooney’s otherworldly vocal performance. While it was already in the forefront of the radio version, beautifully produced by Dan Smyers, Mooney’s voice simply stuns as he hits high notes with apparent ease.

Riley Green EP, If It Wasn’t For Trucks

If It Wasn’t For Trucks builds on the promise of previous efforts and past Country Airplay chart hits “There Was This Girl” and “I Wish Grandpas Never Died.” Green embraces familiar country tropes of trucks, boots, mama and God, but brings his own homespun perspective on such tunes as “Better Than Me” (which features Alabama’s Randy Owen) and the nostalgic “Behind The Times.”

Mickey Guyton, Bridges

Guyton, who has served as country music’s conscience on social issues on such songs as “Black Like Me” and “What Are You Gonna Tell Her,” shows her full range on this six-song EP. The title track, bolstered by a dance beat, is about finding a common ground during these divisive times, while Rosé is a lighthearted, twangy salute to her preferred “pretty in pink” beverage. “Salt” is a cautionary tale about a woman who may seem like she’s sugar but she’s actually got a sting. Guyton’s voice is unparalleled and, hopefully, country radio will eventually catch up to her.

Lathan Warlick with Matt Stell, “Over Yonder”

Christian rap artist Warlick, who country fans got introduced to by his appearance on the remix of Granger Smith’s“That’s Why I Love Dirt Roads,” raps about country life and the unifying message of “Black, whites and Latinos coming together to have a good time.” Stell’s sung chorus serves as the perfect complement to Warlick’s spoken verses.

The Last Bandoleros, “Hey Baby Que Paso”

 

The Last Bandoleros cover the Tejano standard (made famous by Texas Tornadoes) with verve and in English and Spanish. The loose-limbed cover is a party waiting to happen.

Waylon Payne, Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me

Payne comes by his country bonafides honestly: his mom is country singer Sammi Smith and his dad, Jody Payne, plays with Willie Nelson, while namesake Waylon Jennings was his godfather. All those influences come into play in Payne’s first full album in 16 years, but the pain and the redemption he seeks on these songs is all his own. Payne’s confessional tenor has no interest in hiding the truth, no matter how shady it may be (such as the character on “Dangerous Criminal”) or the unrealistic dreamer on waltz “Old Blue Eyes.” (The album takes its title from a line in the tune). Cinematic and compelling throughout.

Mariah Carey Teases World TV Debut Performance of ‘Save the Day’ at 2020 US Open Women’s Final

Mariah Carey is here to “Save the Day” and the 2020 US Open Women’s Final Saturday (Sept. 12), when she makes the world TV debut performance of her Ms. Lauryn Hill-assisted hit.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced Friday (Sept. 11) that she would kick off ESPN’s coverage of the championship event starting at 4 p.m. EST, with Naomi Osaka going up against Victoria Azarenka.

For the first time in US Open history, Mimi’s video performance, which incorporates footage of the most notable players in women’s tennis history, was filmed on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center days before the US Open began on Aug. 31.

“Watch SAVE THE DAY tomorrow at the Women’s Finals event of the @usopen! Honored to celebrate these amazing women and gamechangers,” the pop legend tweeted today with a 22-second preview of her performance.

“Save the Day,” featuring Ms. Hill, came out of the vault and onto streaming services on Aug. 21 as the first release from her archival deep dive album The Rarities, which will be released on Oct. 2. And its lyrics about being all in this together, rebuilding our crumbling world, and nonetheless saving the day couldn’t come to rescue us during a better year than 2020.

“Mariah Carey is a megastar, and we are honored to showcase her new song to the world,” said Patrick Galbraith, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “Her song captures the spirit of this moment in time, and through the US Open’s global reach, we can bring this message to our millions of fans worldwide.”

Catch a sneak peek of Carey’s “Save the Day” world TV debut performance below.

Snoopy, Batman, ARMY & More: BTS Break Down Their Style Heroes

Aside from their infectious songs, BTS is also known for their impeccable style. In a new interview with GQ, the septet revealed who their biggest style heroes are–and those who inspired them are pretty diverse.

While Jungkook takes style notes from bandmate RM, RM from painters Whanki Kim and Hyong Keun Yun and V from his father, J-Hope shared a more unusual source for inspiration: The beloved dog Snoopy from the Peanuts series.

“He gives me a fun way to express myself,” he said. “I own Snoopy clothes and pajamas. I think you should try everything you want. That way, you get to understand what works and doesn’t work for you and this will build your own style.”

Jin agreed with that sentiment, crowning himself as his biggest style hero. “I think the key is to not stress or feel pressured about it,” he explained. “Wear what you want and what feels comfortable. If you wake up and see an outfit you like, put it on! It’s good to take it easy. Do what you like. Don’t worry about what other people might think. What’s important is what you want. Other people don’t care about what you wear as much as you may think. Wear what makes you comfortable and happy.”

For Jimin, the BTS ARMY makes him feel most confident. “It’s because I think ARMY inspires me in every aspect of my life. It’s because they’re my reason for life,” he gushed. “I think it’s like a mirror that can reflect me in a light or in depth way…I tried hard to become as friendly, sensitive and warm as they are. I think you should have confidence. Trust that you are already as stylish and amazing as the heroes you are inspired by.”

Watch the full video below.

Executive of the Week: RECORDS CEO Barry Weiss

This week, 24kGoldn and iann dior’s record “Mood” climbed into the top 10 of the Hot 100 in its fourth week on the chart, reaching No. 8 with the distinction of top airplay and streaming gainer honors. The track, released by RECORDS/Columbia, has been boosted by an unusual multi-genre appeal, which sees it spending its second straight week at No. 1 on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs and Hot Alternative Songs charts, while maintaining a slot at No. 5 on the Hot Rap Songs chart.

And that’s helped RECORDS CEO Barry Weiss earn the title of Billboard’s Executive of the Week, for helping shepherd the song to huge gains across the board. And while this is the first top 10 for 24kGoldn, Weiss isn’t expecting it to be his last. “He’s been building through old-fashioned artist development and a series of prior hits leading up to this,” he says. “He’s not some flash in the pan, one-hit TikTok artist that seems to occupy so much of the industry’s attention these days.”

What were the key decisions you have made that led to the success of “Mood”?

Barry Weiss: The key decision was choosing this as the single among a bevy of other great candidates. Goldn is a sensational writer with a host of hits in his pocket. The RECORDS team felt this song had urgency and great commercial appeal based on an earworm of a chorus and a guitar lick, which is a key underlying hook in the song as well.

The song is the top streaming gainer this week and No. 3 on the Streaming Songs chart. What strategy have you used to support its success there?

It’s a streaming monster as evidenced by it being the No. 2 Spotify record in the world behind Cardi B’s “Wap.” [Ed. Note: Cardi’s business partner, Brooklyn Johnny, was previously Billboard’s Executive of the Week.] He’s a darling at digital service providers and on TikTok and YouTube, so we’ve built him up from the success of prior singles to get him great placement and exposure on all of these platforms and services. He’s been building through old-fashioned artist development and a series of prior hits leading up to this. He’s not some flash in the pan, one-hit TikTok artist that seems to occupy so much of the industry’s attention these days.

“Mood” is also the top gainer on airplay. What’s been key to bring programmers onboard?
The song is a huge word of mouth buzz record. That’s a good place to start. That said, Columbia has done a sensational job getting radio on board early as the song is exploding with the consumer. They did a fantastic job on his last song, “City Of Angels,” at alternative radio. “Mood” started immediately at that format, followed by Top 40 and rhythm crossover. [Columbia executive vp/head of promotions] Peter Gray and Columbia took a top-down, major-market approach from day one.

What is the biggest factor in helping a record break through today?
There are lots of factors that help a record break through these days. This one checks every single box. Big at TikTok, radio, streaming services, and he was a XXL Freshman cover artist, which was announced as the single was released. “Poetry in motion” is the best way to qualify this one.

Did you have to adapt any strategies to help make “Mood” a hit?
The simple answer is that the record is a one-listen monster global smash. We’re still in the music business and the music is still the thing that counts most.

To nominate the next executive of the week, email biz@billboard.com

Which Song Should Miley Cyrus Cover Next? Vote!

Queen of Covers Miley Cyrus struck again Thursday night (Sept. 10) when she took on Hall & Oates“Maneater” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. But what should be next?

During her late-night show appearance, Cyrus revealed she got Stevie Nicksblessing to interpolate “Edge of Seventeen” for her latest hit “Midnight Sky,” but maybe she should perform the original Fleetwood Mac singer’s 1981 solo sensation. She also feels blessed to have worked with The Flaming Lips on several collaborations and her 2015 studio album Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz, which the rockers are credited as producers. She shared her top 10 list of Flaming Lips’ hits to Rolling Stone back in 2014, so it could be time to polish off her No. 1 pick “Try to Explain” with her vocals.

And while celebrating the release of her 2017 album Younger Now at a Spotify-hosted party at Nashville’s Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Cyrus said she took inspiration from her “first true love” Elvis Presley and his 1961 film Blue Hawaii, her favorite movie by the King, for her track “Week Without You.” The pop star could continue the tradition of covering the soundtrack’s title track, since Presley remade Bing Crosby’s original 1937 hit.

So what’s your pick for Cyrus’ next cover pick? Vote below!