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Remembering A Different World

A Different World wasn’t ‘a good black show,’ it was just a good show.

Kadeem Hardison as Dwayne Cleophus, sporting a Hillman College sweatshirt.

A Different World took the nation to the yard and schooled them on the culture, care, and traditions of black colleges and showcased the concerns of black youth. Being on the set of the sitcom A Different World was like being on a college campus for actress Charnele Brown. Icons like Lena Horne, Patti LaBelle and Diahann Carroll felt like visiting professors whose wisdom she devoured when they were guest stars. The show’s director Debbie Allen was the distinguished professor who dropped gems of knowledge daily.

“We were going to school,” Brown said of the cast members on the sitcom set on the campus of the fictional historically black Hillman College, where she played the studious pre-med student Kim Reese. “That was an incredible experience that I’m sure I’ll never get again, and I’m blessed that God gave me that opportunity to have that experience.”

A Different World debuted on NBC 30 years ago on Sept. 24, 1987 and not only taught the cast lessons, it took the nation to the yard and schooled them on the culture, care and traditions of black colleges and showcased the experiences of black youth in an unprecedented way for six years. The Cosby Show spin-off was a cultural earthquake and its tremors are still felt today…. read more >

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