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A Different World Cast Tour Coming To Howard University

(L-R) The cast of “A Different World.” Glynn Turman, Dawnn Lewis, Lou Myers, Charnele Brown, Kadeem Harrison, Jasmine Guy, Darryl M. Bell, Cree Summer. (Courtesy photo/People Magazine)

On Feb. 23, an exclusive interview with People Magazine announced that the cast of the phenomenally popular sitcom “A Different World” will embark on an HBCU tour across the country, sparking non-stop excitement among fans. 

The first stop was on Feb. 29 at the Atlanta University Center, home to Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morris Brown University. Next up is Howard on April 9, and students, faculty, and staff are eagerly anticipating the 37th anniversary of the beloved show. A spinoff of “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World” is renowned for its realistic portrayal of HBCU culture and Black history during the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. 

After stopping at the Mecca, the cast will make their way to Tuskegee University and Alabama State University in Fall 2024. Students and faculty interested in attending the event can reserve a ticket on the official website, but spots are limited! 

Howard students are over the moon about the upcoming experience, including Jabrielle Shalem, a first-year fashion design major from Greensboro, North Carolina..

Shalem, who discovered the tour through Instagram, was introduced to the show by her parents – a common theme across many Gen-Zers with a connection to the 1987 comedy. 

“When I was younger, they used to play a local TV station called Bounce TV, and I would always catch the end of the episodes. When I was about thirteen, I sought the show out on my own and started watching it from the beginning,” she said.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), HBCU enrollment increased by 26% between 1976 and 1994, with virtually all of the increase occurring between 1986 and 1994. Interestingly enough, “A Different World” aired from 1987 until 1993.

Shalam said she can’t wait for what will be a “very meaningful opportunity,” as the show is the reason she chose to attend an HBCU.

“I didn’t even consider an HBCU until watching “A Different World” for the first time. It has inspired me, made me smile, made me laugh, but most importantly, it has made me think and achieve,” Shalam expressed.

This HBCU tour is currently only open to students and faculty on the prospective  campuses. Original fans of the sitcom took to the tour’s official Instagram announcement post to complain about this, expressing that they feel it isn’t fair that “true fans” can’t attend. 

A report by Global Web Index found that Gen-Z is keeping older content and trends alive out of nostalgia, with 21% feeling nostalgic for the ‘80s, and 37% percent longing for the ‘90s—a decade where few were born or very young.

Christina Brown, a sophomore architecture major from Philadelphia, said the show resonates with her because it addressed messages and social issues that are relatable more than 30 years after originally airing. “It offered a relatable portrayal of college life, showcasing the complexities of identity, relationships, and social issues. Through characters like Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert, the show addressed topics such as race, class, and gender, resonating deeply with HBCU students who saw their own experiences reflected on screen,” Brown expressed.

Zsana Hoskins

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