'Bel-Air's' Coco Jones And Cassandra Freeman Talk Season 2
Exclusive: Cassandra Freeman And Coco Jones Talk ‘Bel-Air’ Mother/Daughter Dynamic And Legacy
Did you catch the premiere of the second season of Bel-Air?
BOSSIP Sr. Content Director Janeé Bolden spoke with Bel Air stars Cassandra Freeman and Coco Jones ahead of Season 2. When asked about their mother/daughter dynamic, both Freeman, who portrays Vivian “Aunt Viv” Banks and Jones, who plays her daughter Hillary Banks were all smiles discussing their onscreen relationship.
Cassandra Freeman And Coco Jones Talk About Their Mother/Daughter Dynamic On ‘Bel-Air’
“If I had a daughter I could only dream that she would be like Coco,” Cassandra Freeman told BOSSIP. “And Hillary, yes too, because they have such similar energy. It’s been really fun filming this season. Last season I’m trying to sow some seeds into her and this season I feel like she really tries to be like the wind in my sails to help me elevate what I’m trying to do as an artist. I love that this season.”
“I love that too!” Coco Jones agreed. “I feel like we kind of have a common mother-daughter storyline where we butt heads because we are so similar. We’re both creatives, we both have these goals and these things that we want for ourselves. The way we get there is different of course but I feel in a way, we’re like too similar and that’s why we clash, which I feel is a relatable storyline.
While Season 1 left both Hillary and Aunt Viv in strong positions, Season 2 is already beginning to reveal some challenges for their characters. We asked the ladies about the obstacles their characters face and how they find themselves often at odds with those closest to them.
“People aren’t letting us be great at what we’re doing,” Freeman told BOSSIP. “I love Bel-Air because it’s so much about what a family can be and what a family goes through, the complicated nature of all the challenges. But sometimes the only people who can prop you up are your family and sometimes the main people holding you back are your family! It’s so odd but that’s just like life.”
“I love that the show shows how you sort of have to bounce up against certain people to bring out your best self,” Cassandra continued. “Life is a lot like that thing of like warm or cold, and I think this season Viv feels like, ‘Oh I go this way I feel warm, let me see what my daughter is doing…’ And I love that she comes to me to sort of try to come and get help as well, but Hillary is one of the few people in this season who actually puts herself aside to actually help her mother go further into her career in a more dynamic way, which you’ll see later this season.”
‘Bel-Air’ Stars Talk About The Show’s Strong Legacy And Hip-Hop Ties
In addition to the strong family ties of the fictional Banks family, Bel-Air continues a legacy of Black excellence that began with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and continues with their show and the multi-talented cast.
“Being a part of this legacy is hard to describe because I think we’re creating our own stamp in time and stamping culture and it’s all happening so fast,” Coco Jones told BOSSIP.
“You want to be present and take it all in, but at the same time, there’s a lot to do because you’re doing something great and anything great takes a lot of work,” Jones continued. “I think it’s really beautiful and amazing that WE are the ones that get to live this life and create this legacy that is Bel-Air. I think legacy to me is opening up doors so that the next generation doesn’t have to break them down. Helping to continue with more successful Black shows like this and it becomes the regular so that it’s not so surprising, it’s just like expected and successful and normal.”
“I love the question, ‘What is legacy?'” Cassandra Freeman said. “Hamilton has that quote, ‘Legacy is leaving seeds in the ground and never knowing what they’re going to be,’ or something like that. I love it. I think about legacy as one hand is in the past and the other is striving toward the future. So you know who your ancestors are, you know where you stand today, but you know how much further you need to go. And I think Black excellence and this show — I look forward to the day, and I want to believe that we’re already in it, that to be Black is synonymous with excellence. There is no way we would have what we have in this country without the excellence of our ancestors.”
Freeman also pointed out that while both Bel-Air shows carry a certain elite association, they’re also very rooted in hip-hop.
“This show is very iconic for what it did for the narrative of what it means to be Black and bourgeois,” Freeman told BOSSIP. “But also this show and its legacy is very ingrained in hip-hop culture and hip-hop has taken over the world it just had its 50th anniversary. No one knew what hip hop was going to be so for that to be also baked into this show, thanks to who Will Smith is, I think we are also standing on his shoulders that we get to do something this grand.”
In addition to Bel-Air’s hip-hop roots, multiple members of the cast share musical talents as well.
“Coco be singing, ‘Where is my phone?'” Cassandra laughed. “To know Coco is to know there will be a song, and to know me is to know I’m going sing just something crazy.”
“Yes,” Coco added. “The cast is going to be making vocal noises. I don’t know if they’re all qualified for singing but we are multi-talented. I think that’s one of the reasons we all bond so well because we also have these loves for art, culture, and music that are surprising because you see us as these characters and you’d be surprised at how multi-talented we all are.”
Coco also spoke about how she was driven to balance her filming schedule with studio sessions and commitments to her music career.
“Balance is constantly the goal, and it’s very challenging when I feel like both entities want me to be somewhere at a certain time and they do not care about the other entity,” Coco told BOSSIP. “It’s up to me to make sure that I’m present for both things — Hillary, my character, and then me, the artist, which is the deepest version of myself. Being able to leave set, gain energy somehow, only through Christ, to be able to like tap in and leave the studio with something unforgettable. To not give what’s left, to like recharge with no power. It’s a lot. But I think at the end of the day, I’m a very goal oriented person, that’s why me and Hillary clicked so much. But I knew what I wanted. I wanted people who saw me as Hillary to not just assume that I’m just an actor. I want them to know that, yeah acting took off first, but singing is what I’ve been doing my entire life.”
Season 1 and the first episode of Season 2 of Bel-Air are currently streaming on Peacock.
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