Guantanamo Bay Inmates Select 'Fresh Prince' as Favorite Entertainment

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Everett Collection

Mike Soccio and Will Smith go all the way back to Smith’s days on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." (Soccio wrote several episodes of the series and made an onscreen appearance in 1995.)

The prison in Cuba holds communal screenings of the Will Smith show.

Despite campaign pledges, President Obama has not shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. And while debate on that issue continues to rage, prisoners are passing time by taking in loads of American entertainment.

After a period of mass consumption of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, the Miami Herald reports that inmates at the island prison have become avid fans of the 90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The fish-out-of-water series, which ran for six seasons and 147 episodes, launched then-rapper Will Smith to acting fame, and 16 years after its last episode aired, it is being enjoyed by inmates on large televisions in medium-security cell blocks on a near-constant loop.

There are 28,000 items in the video and book detention center library; many inmates request dictionaries and translated copies of books so that they can learn English.

In the United States, the series has been a syndication hit, with long runs on TBS and local WPIX stations. It currently runs on Disney XD and ABC Family.