A Different World, including Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Dawnn Lewis, Cree Summer, Darryl Bell and Debbie Allen

‘A Different World’ Cast Reunites Amid HBCU Admissions Surge

The cast will tour six HBCUs in 2024.

Welcome back to “A Different World.” The cast of the beloved ’90s sitcom reunited to tour college campuses and celebrate their impact on rising HBCU admissions.

The “Cosby Show” spinoff premiered in the late 1980s. Set at the fictional Hillman College, the show detailed the HBCU experience for students. “A Different World” became known for touching on serious subjects outside of algebra, such as apartheid and the AIDS epidemic.

Its reemergence for a new generation has led to an increase in applicants to HBCUs. Howard University, for example, just reached a record-breaking admissions number of 37,000.

Cast members such as Jasmine Guy (Whitley Gilbert), Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne Wayne), Dawnn Lewis (Jaleesa Vinson), and Darryl M. Bell (Ron Johnson) took part in the 2024 HBCU tour. The actors visited notable HBCUs such as Morehouse, Howard, and Tuskegee to speak on the legacy and impact fostered within the vibrant HBCU community, on- and off-screen.

“We were protesting apartheid. … Kids were protesting apartheid and censorship on the radios, and now you have Black Lives Matter. It changes over generations, but the struggle is always real,” explained Bell in an interview shared by NBC News. “We tackled all the issues you see college kids attack because it’s usually in college where you come into your own self-awareness.”

College campuses today have seen an influx of student protests concerning the Israel-Hamas war. Students are also taking action to raise awareness of the breakdown of DEI programs and affirmative action.

However, just like those on “A Different World,” students at HBCUs have the power to enact change within and beyond their community.

“I think the point is to keep talking, to keep having the conversation, to let them know —  give them the permission to know — that they are empowered to have the conversation,” shared Lewis.

The tour coincides with the announcement of the “A Different World” scholarship fund. The charitable initiative aims to lessen the financial burdens on Black students as they progress in their studies.

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