Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another entry of Grateful Heart Monday, which for today is for a new show I’m watching, Bel-Air, on Peacock, a reboot of the original Fresh Prince of Bel-Air series, but a far more gritty and edgy version of it.

These days, reboots of old tv shows seem to be becoming more and more common. Shows like Dynasty, MacGyver, Magnum PI, Law & Order, and so many others have returned to varying degrees, some I’d consider decent reboots, while others I quickly lost interest in, remembering the older version as far more superior. Most recently, Peacock has brought back The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air thanks to a YouTube video of one person’s view of what the original show should have been more like. Rather than the show being a comedy like its predecessor, Bel-Air is more of an urban drama and one that really feels more real than the original ever did.

While my partner was a big fan of the original Fresh Prince series, I wasn’t. It was just too goofy and irritated me more than not, especially every time Carlton did that silly dance that became so popular back then. I generally quickly turned the channel every time the original show was on, and continue to do so even in its reruns, because it never felt accurate or real on any level to me.

There was a very brief period of my life where I did live on the inner-city streets of Poughkeepsie, learning much about a culture I didn’t grow up with. The premise of the original Fresh Prince show was about taking Will Smith out of the inner-city streets of Philadelphia when things got out of hand and sending him off to Bel-Air in California to his rich aunt and uncle’s place for safety. For many, that original series was one of the highlights of their upbringing, bringing them some much-needed laughter when it was on. But for me, it brought annoyance each time it was, because it didn’t portray any of what I saw in the friends or life I had during my brief inner-city days.  Honestly, it felt like it did a strong disservice to a culture I came to know.

In the new version of Fresh Prince though, more aptly titled Bel-Air to depict its originality, while the premise retains that initial theme of bringing Will Smith to a place of safety from inner-city trouble, there are subjects that are shown with much greater accuracy that the original never ever showed. Gang warfare, gun violence, drugs in high school, severe bullying, great family strife, and much more, Bel-Air is not a show for the light-hearted and looks nothing like the original, thankfully.

I’ve now watched almost half of the new season of Bel-Air and I find myself being drawn back into the life I once lived for that brief period each time the show is on. The main lead, Jabari Banks, as the young Will Smith is electrifying and very believable, as is Carlton (Olly Sholotan), who thankfully hasn’t done any silly dance in it as of yet.

Why I’m grateful for this show is simply because I feel that Hollywood often misrepresents cultures for the sake of gaining viewership. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in the 90’s had lots of viewers because it was goofy fun, but one I never felt connected to. The same can be said of a show like Modern Family that consistently type casted a gay couple as being overly flamboyant, something that annoys me incredibly because not all gay people are flamboyant.

I have grown weary of TV shows and movies that don’t represent what a culture is truly like, which is why I’m thankful on today’s Grateful Heart Monday for Bel-Air emerging this year with a fresh look and premise, one that feels far more real than its predecessor ever did…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Question For The Day

In light of a number of negative labels that have been placed on me lately by others, today’s question of the day is for all of us to think more positively about ourselves, so…

Describe yourself in three POSITIVE words…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

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“Annoying, Pretentious, Judgmental”

It is said that resentment is the number one offender that leads many sober people to a relapse of their addiction, which is why I work diligently to remove any within me, and to seek the forgiveness of others if I discover I’ve harmed them somehow. So, when I learned not too long ago that a person I hadn’t spent time with for years didn’t want to come have a coffee with a mutual friend and I over potential tension, I made an attempt to connect with them to see if I had harmed them at some point in the past. Because I was totally unaware of anything I may have done to lead to such tension within them. When I finally got a response from them via text as to what the tension was all about, it wasn’t anything I had done at all. Rather, it was their opinion of me, and it was described in three words.

Annoying. Pretentious. Judgmental.

I was at dinner with a friend of mine when this text came through. And sadly, I let it ruin the rest of my meal because I continue to struggle owning what other people think of me, no matter how hard I try not to. I have worked so very hard to be a selfless person in my life and to erase the selfish nature of my past. I don’t think of myself as better than anyone else. I do my best to accept everyone as they are. And I try to keep my childlike sense of humor alive to keep going in a world I often feel less than in, especially when I find myself owning other’s negative opinions of me.

My only desire ever with this individual was to make amends if I had harmed them somehow, but ironically, one of the things I received in return from them was the very thing they were accusing me of being. Judgmental. But it shouldn’t matter what they thought of me. Their approval shouldn’t matter one bit. Except I can’t seem to shake this pattern of me owning what others think of me. So, I keep writing about it. I keep dealing with it in therapy. I keep trying to be a good person. Yet, I keep allowing myself to get struck down by others’ negative opinions of me again and again.

This individual like so many others who’ve had negative opinions of me in recent years have no idea the humility I’ve put myself through by being as transparent as I am through my writing and speaking on the life I’ve had. They don’t see the world I live in, one where I do my best to help so many, just to try to make a difference. But it shouldn’t matter they don’t see this. What should matter is what I will declare once more…




I spent an entire childhood and most of my adulthood feeling completely the opposite of those statements. When I finally got right with myself and God and found true recovery from my toxic past, I began to find myself in the line of fire from so many who felt the opposite of those positive statements when they thought of me. And the more I listen to them, the more I find myself thinking about checking out like my parents did. Yet, I press on. I fight to live. And choose to end this by saying to this individual…

I love you and forgive you for your judgments of me. While you may not choose to see the beauty of my soul and all that I do every day to contribute to the love of this world, rather than take from it like I used to, all that matters is that God sees it. I just need to keep reminding myself of that…especially when the world around tries to tell me otherwise…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson