‘I’m a Black Guy That’s Not Dancing for You’: Alfonso Ribeiro Talks People Asking Him to Do the Carlton Dance

Alfonso Ribeiro and Will Smith are the funniest duo from the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Both actors were known for bringing their hilarious jokes and fun-filled moments, but Ribeiro‘s character, Carlton Banks, was the dancing star of the show. He became known for the iconic “the Carlton dance” he performed to Tom Jones’ song, “It’s Not Unusual.” But he prefers people call him by his real name today.

“My mama named me that. I like it better than Carlton,” he said during an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” that aired on Tuesday, May 10. The late-night host then asked Ribeiro how often he wants to “kill people” who ask him to do the dance.

Alfonso Ribeiro poses with late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. @therealalfonsoribeiro/Instagram

“I won’t say kill, but I don’t have a love for it like they do,” he shared. “I mean I typically get asked to do the dance pretty much every day of my life if I go outside. If I go anywhere, I just randomly hear people, ‘Do the dance.'”

However, the 51-year-old actor has no problems turning people down no matter how nicely they ask. “You’re like, ‘I’m not dancing for you. I’m a Black guy that’s not dancing for you. That’s not gonna happen.”

The host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” also doesn’t understand how someone could randomly approach someone they didn’t know and ask them to dance.

He said, “The weird part for me is trying to understand what’s happening in their head right? Like what makes you think that you just gonna ask a random person to dance for you, and they’re gonna be like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been waiting for you to ask! Hold on a second, let me get into character.’ It’s not. I don’t get it. It’s not gonna happen.”

America was in love with Alfonso Ribeiro’s beloved “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” character until the season ended in 1996. Although he took on a new role in the series, “In The House” and others, he’s always been vocal about how being typecast for a role that stuck with him throughout his whole career and hindered future acting opportunities.

“When you do a role like Carlton and people love the role and you do the job so well that they essentially tell you that you can’t do it anymore because we can’t see you as anything else, is a very difficult thing to deal with,” Ribeiro told ABS last July. “It was like, ‘Wait a minute, but I did it well. I did my job. I did what I was asked to do. I made you believe that that’s who I am.’ That’s what any actor is supposed to do.”

“And then I was punished for it. Because then I didn’t get to go do what my craft was. I didn’t get to do it anymore. So going through that, you learn what that feeling is like and how valuable it is to be able to do what you love to do.”

Back to top