Some principal cast members of “A Different World” will reunite at Norfolk State University in April to benefit the ACCESS College Foundation.
The show’s stars Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne Cleophus Wayne), Jasmine Guy (Whitley Gilbert), Cree Summer (Winifred ‘Freddie’ Brooks), Charnele Brown (Kimberly Reese) and Darryl Bell (Ron Johnson) will come together to meet with college students, school faculty and area high school teens for a registration fair and college tour.
The popular NBC sitcom—which also starred Glynn Turman (Colonel Bradford Taylor), Dawnn Lewis (Jaleesa Vinson), Sinbad (Coach Walter Oakes), Jada Pinkett Smith (Lena James), Ajai Sanders (Gina Deveaux), Karen Malina White (Charmaine Tyesha Brown) and the late Lou Myers (Vernon Gaines)—was a spin-off of “The Cosby Show.”
Executive produced and sometimes directed by Debbie Allen, the sitcom aired for six seasons from September 1987 to July 1993. The theme song for seasons two through five for “A Different World” was performed by Aretha Franklin.
Groundbreaking for its time, the show was set at Hillman College, a fictional historically Black college in the state of Virginia, inspired by student life at Hampton University. “A Different World” is credited with bringing awareness to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which saw huge spikes in enrollment because of the show.
The provocative sitcom dealt with controversial subjects like social justice, the Los Angeles riots, date rape, the mammy doll, domestic violence, and HIV/AIDS, among other relevant issues in the early 1990’s.
The story of “A Different World” was the subject of a recent episode of TV One’s “Unsung Hollywood” featuring AlwaysAList.com editor in chief Jawn Murray; and the some members of the cast reunited for an episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” for the OWN Network.
The reunion event for the ACCESS College Foundation will take place on April 16 at NSU’s L. Douglas Wilder Center at 3pm.