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In Memoriam: Remembering James “Uncle Phil” Avery ~ & what he taught us about Fatherhood


       When James Avery, known more commonly as “Uncle Phil, Died on New Year’s Eve. It sent a shockwave through millions of fans everywhere. Although James Avery had acted in many roles throughout his lifetime, many came to truly love him for the character portrayed on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  On the day that his death was announced millions of millennial’ s as well as children of the 90’s , spoke out worldwide on social media about the impact that this man played on their lives .
            To some people the actor only meant comic relief but for millions there was a hardness yet fairness to the man that attracted so many. The show as well as the character; were both rooted in the culture of the black community.  He showed what it was like to come from various sides of the economic strata thus showing us both sides of the fence.  He also took a troublesome teen played by Will Smith, and taught him the meaning of being a man and the importance of fatherhood.  Despite the much conflict that arose, often to the audience’s comedic relief –there was still a strong compassion that Avery’s character showed to his on screen wife and children as well as Will.  
            You could always count on “Uncle Phil” to be the moral compass teaching right from wrong on the show at any given time. This helped to solidify the show as sometimes the values would become blurred between its many one-liners. James Avery’s character was staunch and remained resolute when Will or any of the family needed correction or discipline but he was also loving and showed vulnerability when it was needed as well.
            Despite often times being the butt of jokes on the show because of his weight-‘Uncle Phil” was still a proud man who was dignified and held his family together.  He was a giant in life as well as on the show and he will be greatly missed. James Avery, who played Uncle Phil on the TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died Dec. 31. Please take a few minutes to check out Will Smith’s touching tribute below as well as our tribute to James “Uncle Phil” Avery.
            Will Smith, the real Fresh Prince typed up his tribute to James Avery, who sadly passed away. James Avery portrayed a Long-suffering but ultimately loving father figure in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Smith had this to say:

“Some of my greatest lessons in Acting, Living and being a respectable human being came through James Avery. Every young man needs an Uncle Phil. Rest in Peace”

Our tribute:

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