Monday, July 22, 2013

Prince of Bel-Aire

I had this idea for a remake of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air the other day. I made a note about it. Lets see how much I remember.

It's no longer a sitcom. Now it's more appropriate to HBO or Showtime. The protagonist runs with a tough crowd in west Philadelphia. He's ambitious and smart and is going for a leadership role. He's had to eliminate a few people to work his way up. For the most part he's been able to do that by getting cops to arrest or shoot people in his way or put people in situations that got them killed by rival gangs, but as he got higher up he encountered smarter and smarter people who needed more personal killing.

One day he was playin' some b-ball outside the school. No, not basket ball. "B-ball" is the slang they used for their drug dealing operation that would pass the client around to a series of people to make arrests harder. Some white kids just in from Kansas who were kicked out of their old school for excessive violence tried to make a name for themselves and it got way out of hand. CNN kind of out of hand. That's when our lead character's mom gets a hint of her baby's involvement with the thug life. She still thinks he's the victim, though. She packs him off to live with his rich auntie and uncle in Bel Air.

Once in Bel Air he starts trying to get things going again. The market seems wide open. But almost immediately he sees he's going to have problems with just being black in that area. He has to take on protective camouflage by seeming as preppy as possible. Pants pulled up, hair cut short, getting good grades, and trading the basketball for a tennis racket. Hoodies are right out.

Despite the appearances, there's already a drug market in place. At first he tries to compete with the existing network. The established network deliberately slips up to make it known there are drugs being sold in the school knowing the cops will suspect the black guy from CNN. But, his grades, the lack of evidence, the influence of his uncle, and the return of CNN to report on profiling get the cops to back down. He gets grudgingly absorbed into the existing network. But soon, another group appears. Unwilling to remain a lackey, the protagonist has started a third group with an asian math wiz as the figurehead. This way, he figures, he can put the two against each other and either take down the new group to prove himself and move up in the existing network, use the conflict to distract from himself, or take over the new group once the existing network is gone. In any case, to anyone looking in it's not the black guy in charge.

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