March 23, 2023
As the star of Peacock's gritty reimagining of '90s sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Jabari Banks has already shown off his charisma and athleticism. This week, the University of the Arts alum got the chance to show fans a totally different set of skills.
On Tuesday, the "Bel-Air" star was a guest on Jimmy Fallon's "That's My Jam," a game show that pits celebrities head-to-head in a variety of musical and dance challenges. During the episode — which also featured rappers Quavo, French Montana and Chance the Rapper — Banks sang a unique rendition of Usher's "Yeah!" that has since gone viral on social media.
The show-stopping performance was part of the "Opposites Attract" challenge, which pairs two songs with opposite words in their titles, and forces the player to sing the lyrics of one over the soundtrack of the other.
After spinning a wheel to determine the unlikely pairing, Banks was tasked with singing Usher's 2004 hip hop song "Yeah!" to the tune of Ariana Grande's 2018 pop hit "no tears left to cry."
While initially laughing over the absurdity of the challenge, Banks quickly stepped up to the plate, keeping his competitors and the audience on their feet as they danced along and applauded his efforts.
Banks' strong pipes and suave Usher-esque performance continued to earn acclaim on social media, where the video was posted by Fallon's channels and has been viewed over 4.2 million times on TikTok and 1.2 million times on Instagram.
Comments of praise, like "What can’t he do? Truly Fresh Prince 2.0" and "reason #97 to fall in love with Jabari Banks," quickly came flooding in.
The song even had social media users changing their minds about the "Bel-Air" reboot.
"I initially was not behind the bel air reboot and this young man but he is SO DAMN LIKABLE lmao like who knew he sang too?! Gen Z, y’all won this round," one Twitter user wrote alongside a video of Banks' performance that racked up over 3 million views.
Fans who missed the show Tuesday episode can stream Banks' full "That's My Jam" now on Peacock.
Banks, 24, who stepped into a role inspired by (and named for) Philly native Will Smith, is on a continuous rise to fame thanks to the success of "Bel-Air." The show follows a West Philadelphia teenager on a complicated journey from the streets of his hometown to his luxurious new home with the Banks family in the posh Los Angeles Bel-Air neighborhood.
The drama became Peacock's most-watched original premiere when it debuted last year, and the second season is the NBC streaming service's most-watched original sophomore series.
Peacock is streaming new "Bel-Air" episodes every Thursday through April 27, and has already announced that the show is renewed for Season 3.
"That's My Jam," is now in its second season, during which it hosts a star-studded lineup including Philadelphia native celebrities like singer Patti LaBelle and "Abbott Elementary" creator Quinta Brunson. Fallon's game show airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on NBC.
Follow Franki & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @wordsbyfranki
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice
Have a news tip? Let us know.