The cast and crew talk about how important it was to discuss current events and relevant subject matter on the show. The hit family sitcom The Cosby Show created a spinoff show to follow Denise Huxtable, who enters the predominantly Black and fictional college Hillman College. A Different World follows a group of Hillman students who were working through their Black college woes and adulthood simultaneously.
The cast featured E!’s reunion special included Whitley, played by Jasmine Guy, who was a Southern belle with an unforgettable attitude. There was also Dwayne Wayne, portrayed by Kadeem Harrison, who was a math major and signature glasses. The widely successful voice actress, Cree Summers played a liberated Freddie on the show. Sinbad also played one of the professors and coaches at Hillman as Walter Oates. Dawnn Lewis, who played Denise’s sophomore year roommate Jaleesa, also joins the original crew.
Fales recalls the show’s writing team visiting various college campuses like Spelman College and Morehouse College in Atlanta to research the topics that affected college students the most during that time.
“One of the things that I loved was that our show was based on legacy,” Dawnn Lewis adds to the conversation. “However you guys figured it out to get all of those amazing people to guest star on our show. Patti Labelle, Diane Caroll, Gladys Knight, Richard Roundtree.”
The show stressed the importance of uplifting the Black community while highlighting the issues that plagued it. A Different World was not afraid to bring awareness to topics of race, politics and culture, which ultimately shifted the way Black people were represented in television.
Catch the full episode of “Reunion Road Trip: It’s A Different World” on E! Entertainment.
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