“A Different World” has been off-air for nearly two decades, but the NBC sitcom is still influential. The “The Cosby Show” spinoff centered on Denise Huxtable’s adventures at the fictitious Hillman College, a HBCU that produced several Huxtable men and Claire as well.
Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith landed a co-starring role as Lena James in the final two seasons of the show. It was our first primetime glance at the budding actress and her friendships with other elite superstars, including Tupac Shakur.
Pinkett-Smith told theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon that she would love to see the series revived. “I would love to see something like A Different World back on television,” she said. “I would love to see kids of color back in school, and what college life is like, and the trials of going into the world with a college diploma, and what does that mean today versus what it meant during the era [in] which we were doing a different world.” “I would love to re-ignite that world again,” she continued.
“A Different World” was the first primetime show to examine HBCU culture while also exploring social issues plaguing communities of color. Characters confronted unplanned pregnancies, date rape, AIDS, colorism and even the 1992 Los Angeles uprisings.
The sitcom, which aired from 1987 to 1993, was also one of the first series’ to feature a black woman as producer-director (Debbie Allen), another black woman as headwriter (Susan Fales), and several other people of color in principle creative positions.
Pinkett-Smith isn’t the only “A Different World” alum considering a show revamp. Allen, a famed producer and choreographer, tweeted that she wanted to reboot the sitcom.
Pinkett-Smith told theGrio she would serve as “A Different World” producer rather than a character on the show. It’s a feasible notion since the production company she owns with Will Smith is responsible for several films including “Free Angela and All Other Political Prisoners” and the forthcoming “Annie.”
“A Different World” is special because HBCUs are unique meccas of brilliant black folks. There are few things as important as bringing that dynamic to primetime again.
Would you watch a rebooted “A Different World?”