Alfonso Ribeiro is best known for his role as Carlton Banks on the beloved 1990s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air starring Will Smith.
Carlton’s character is important because he represents a non-stereotypical member of the Black community who isn’t considered “Black enough.”
Ribeiro opened up about being typecast for roles like Carlton and the backlash he receives from being in an interracial marriage.
“It still happens almost every day, unfortunately,” Ribeiro told the Atlanta Black Star about having his Blackness challenged. “I am in a mixed relationship. And I get things and looks and comments constantly. And I find it very interesting because you see a lot of things on social media where people say things and people have positions and perspectives. And it’s not easy to make that choice, because you’re not at home in any home. I’m never going to be white and I’m never going to be fully supported in the Black house.”
Ribeiro opened up more about his relationship with writer, Angela Unkrich. “I’m in my own little world with support from almost no one, to be in love with someone I’ve fallen in love with. How does that make sense? It doesn’t,” he said. “We all want to live in a world where everyone is accepted for being and loving and living the way they choose to live. I will support any person that wants to live in a world that they want to live in.”
“I live in a mixed world. I love in a mixed world. I live in a Black world, and I love in that world. I feel everyone should be supported,” he continued.
Alfonso Ribeiro added that he’s never even been invited to the BET Awards despite his contributions to the culture.
“I laugh at the fact that I am a mainstream television host, been in the game forever and I could purchase tickets to go to the BET Awards. So it is what it is. I’m not going to purchase the ticket…But at the end of the day, if that’s the view they take, then that’s the view they take. I can’t change their mind. All I can do is live my life and be me and be the best version of me. And continue to love everybody equally, and let it fall where it falls.”
Despite his experience, Ribeiro’s friendship with his co-star Smith has not severed.
“Well, we were friends before. So that helped a lot,” Ribeiro said. “We were able to…play on set. We were able to not take things so seriously that our egos would never get in the way of creating funny. The things that we learned very early on was, if I’m his straight man and he gets the big laugh, we both win. If he’s my straight man and I get the big laugh, we both win….I believe our success on the show was so great because we never stopped each other from winning.”
One user responded to Ribeiro on Twitter with a cringey “this you?” moment. “Maybe this is why we didn’t care about your marriage or why you haven’t been invited to BET,” @iamlexstylz wrote.