A Different World

A Different World is an American sitcom (and a spin-off of The Cosby Show) that aired for six seasons on NBC from September 24, 1987 to July 9, 1993. The series originally centered on Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) and the life of students at Hillman College, a fictional historically black college in Virginia. It was inspired by student life at historically black colleges and universities.[1][2][3] After Bonet's departure in the first season, the remainder of the series primarily focused more on Southern belle Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and math whiz Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison).

A Different World
A Different World
GenreSitcom
Created byBill Cosby
StarringLisa Bonet
Jasmine Guy
Dawnn Lewis
Loretta Devine
Kadeem Hardison
Mary Alice
Darryl M. Bell
Sinbad
Charnele Brown
Cree Summer
Glynn Turman
Lou Myers
Ajai Sanders
Jada Pinkett
Karen Malina White
Marisa Tomei
Theme music composerStu Gardner
Bill Cosby
Dawnn Lewis
Opening themePerformed by:
Phoebe Snow (season 1)
Aretha Franklin
(seasons 2–5)
Boyz II Men and Terrence Forsythe (season 6)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes144 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Marcy Carsey
Tom Werner (entire run)
Caryn Mandabach
(seasons 4–6)
Susan Fales
(season 6)
Camera setupVideotape; Multi-camera
Running time23–25 minutes
Production company(s)Carsey-Werner Productions
DistributorCarsey-Werner Distribution
Release
Original networkNBC
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseSeptember 24, 1987 –
July 10, 1993
Chronology
Related showsThe Cosby Show

Concept

While it was a spin-off from The Cosby Show, A Different World typically addressed issues that were avoided by The Cosby Show writers (race and class relations, or the Equal Rights Amendment). One episode that aired in 1990 was one of the first American network television episodes to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic.[4] The original premise was to have a white student there and have Lena Horne as an acting teacher, but in production, the premise changed from being a story about a white girl in a black college to a black girl (Denise Huxtable) in a black college with a white friend.[5][6] It was ultimately decided that Denise, who was of college age, would be spun off and have a white roommate in order to show the dynamic of a white girl in predominantly black surroundings.[7] Meg Ryan was originally cast for this role, but she decided to pursue a film career, so Marisa Tomei was cast. The first season of Hillman's student body consisted of both black and white students, but this was changed at the beginning of the second season and a very predominantly black student body maintained until the series ended.

Season two changes

After the first season, it came to Cosby's and the producers' attention that the series was not accurately portraying a historically black college and life on campus, so Debbie Allen, an alumna of Howard University, was hired as the chief creative force to revamp the show. During the summer of 1988, Lisa Bonet announced that she and husband Lenny Kravitz were having a baby. Allen was in favor of having a young pregnant student in the show, but Cosby said that Lisa Bonet may be pregnant but not Denise Huxtable.[8] It was felt that viewers would not accept Denise as an unwed mother, having grown to know her as a "good girl" after four seasons of The Cosby Show. Thus it was decided that Denise would drop out of Hillman, return home to her family, and eventually travel to Africa throughout the fifth season of The Cosby Show, ensuring that viewers would not see a pregnant Denise. Allen was also in favor of keeping Tomei, as she herself recalls a white student at Howard and wanted to relate that in the show and even had possible premises for her character, such as meeting Dwayne's parents and seeing the other side of racism.[8] However, Tomei left the show, and she and Marie-Alise Recasner were replaced by Cree Summer and Charnele Brown, respectively. Darryl M. Bell and Sinbad were promoted to the principal cast, and Glynn Turman and Lou Myers were added as supporting cast members. These changes led to the placement of Whitley and Dwayne at the center of a wider ensemble, dealing with more relevant issues of the day.

Cast and characters

Main cast

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6
Lisa Bonet Denise Huxtable Main Guest
Marisa Tomei Maggie Lauten Main
Dawnn Lewis Jaleesa Vinson-Taylor Main
Jasmine Guy Whitley Marion Gilbert Main
Loretta Devine Stevie Rallen Main
Kadeem Hardison Dwayne Cleofis Wayne Main
Mary Alice Leticia "Lettie" Bostic Main
Darryl M. Bell Ronald "Ron" Marlon Johnson Recurring Main
Sinbad Coach Walter Oakes Recurring Main
Charnele Brown Kimberly Reese Main
Cree Summer Winifred "Freddie" Brooks Main
Glynn Turman Colonel Bradford Taylor Main
Lou Myers Vernon Gaines Recurring Main
Ajai Sanders Gina Deveaux Recurring Main
Jada Pinkett Lena James Recurring Main
Karen Malina White Charmaine Tyesha Brown Guest Main
*After leaving the series, Lisa Bonet returned for a guest appearance as Denise in season three (episode: "Forever Hold Your Peace").
Prior to joining the cast as a regular, Karen Malina White appears as Charmaine in season five (episode: "Conflict of Interest").

Recurring

Guest stars

Notable episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedNielsen ratings[9]
First airedLast airedRankRating
122September 24, 1987July 7, 1988225.0
222October 6, 1988May 4, 1989323.0
325September 28, 1989May 3, 1990421.1
425September 20, 1990May 2, 1991417.5
525September 19, 1991May 14, 19921715.2
625September 24, 1992July 9, 1993N/AN/A

In season one, the episode "Rudy and the Snow Queen" marks the beginning of the softening of Whitley's image as a spoiled troublemaker at Hillman. Denise's kid sister Rudy (Keshia Knight-Pulliam) visits Hillman and becomes smitten with Whitley. Flattered at the attention, Whitley befriends the little girl, but when it becomes clear that she's trumping Denise as a role model, Whitley has a change of heart, steps back and gently persuades Rudy to return to her sister.

In season two, the episode titled "No Means No" deals with date rape. Freddie has a crush on Hillman's new top-notch baseball star Garth Parks (played by Taimak). Dwayne hears Garth discuss a disturbing incident involving another woman. Dwayne goes to Walter (Sinbad) for advice, and Walter tells him about date rape. Dwayne tries to warn Freddie, but she does not believe Garth would do such a thing. Later at a dance, Garth goes off alone with Freddie and attempts to rape her, but Dwayne finds them and fights Garth. At the end of the episode, Walter takes Garth to the police station for his assault on Freddie and the rape of the other woman.

In January 1991 (seven days before the beginning of Operation Desert Storm), Blair Underwood guest-starred in the episode "War and Peace" (written by Jasmine Guy and Dominic Hoffman) about the impending Persian Gulf War. A Different World became the first situation comedy to address this topic, and "War and Peace" was one of the highest-rated episodes of season four.[10]

In the season four episode "Ms. Understanding", Hillman student Shazza Zulu (Gary Dourdan) peddles a book he has written and self-published that is highly critical of African-American men and their allegedly sexist behavior. The episode is based on the controversy surrounding the book The Blackman's Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman [sic]. This book, written by controversial African American author Shahrazad Ali, blamed many of the problems within the black family and the black community on African American women. Although many black women found the book highly offensive and intellectually deficient, African American men purchased hundreds of thousands of copies in 1989 and 1990, leading to a temporary rift between many African American men and women. Ali's book is mentioned specifically in the 1990 episode "Time Keeps on Slippin'" where Ron suggests putting it in the time capsule to represent a female point of view, but is shouted down by the women in the group.

The season five episode "Mammy Dearest" addresses two subjects almost never discussed on prime time television: the "mammy" image and its negative effect upon African Americans' sense of beauty and self-worth, and the little-known fact that some well-to-do African-Americans actually owned slaves themselves. Kim is disheartened with the display of several "mammy" dolls in a cultural exhibit, while Whitley learns that some of her African-American ancestors were slave owners. In some regions of the U.S., blacks owning black slaves (or relatives) would ensure that they would not be sold to leave the town.

The season five episode "Cat's in the Cradle" deals with racism, from both sides of the proverbial fence. While attending a Hillman football game on a predominantly white campus, Ron and Dwayne are involved in a bias incident with three white students, which culminates with Ron and Dwayne fighting the white students as they attempt to spraypaint the word "Nigger" on Ron's car, stopping them before they could complete the slur. They are all arrested by the campus police. They share with the campus police chief (Ernie Sabella) the perspectives of the incident, shown from each side. Predictably, it shows drastically different takes. The racist act by the white students is not alone, however, as Dwayne is guilty of the same prejudice by assuming the white campus chief is racist. Poignantly, the ending scene find both parties returning to the parking lot where the altercation started, only to find that some unknown other person or persons finished spray-painting the "Nigger" slur on the car. This episode features one of actor Dean Cain's earliest television appearances.

The season five episode "Love Taps" dealt with domestic violence. Gina has been dating an up-and-coming rapper named Dion, a.k.a. "I'm Down" (played by Edafe Blackmon), who many of the students admire, including Terrance. When Lena suspects that Dion has been beating up on Gina (who is sporting a black eye), she confronts her about it, but Gina makes excuses for Dion's rages and tells Lena to back off. Lena confides in Kim about Gina's situation; Kim informs Lena that some things should not be kept secret. Eventually, Dion's reputation is spread all over campus. After having a heart-to-heart talk with Whitley and engaging in a confrontation with Dion (in front of Terrance who has called the police), Gina finally decides to press assault charges against him.

Various episodes in the last two seasons of the series referenced contemporary high-profile cases of sexual harassment, such as the Mitsubishi scandal,[11] and the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings. In the episode "Bedroom at the Top," Whitley is sexually harassed at her new job by an executive. The Anita Hill hearings also are mentioned in the episode "The Little Mister," in which Dwayne dreams about the 1992 elections imagining himself as Hillary Clinton, while Whitley is Bill.

The season six premiere includes Whitley and Dwayne's recounting of their honeymoon in Los Angeles, during which four white police officers who were on trial for the videotaped beating of African American motorist Rodney King were acquitted of state criminal charges, sparking the 1992 Los Angeles riots. (Actors Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold, comedian Gilbert Gottfried and rapper Sister Soulja made cameo appearances in this two-part episode.)[12]

In "Homie, Don't You Know Me?" (one of the "lost episodes" from season 6), rapper Tupac Shakur portrays Lena's (Jada Pinkett) old boyfriend from back home. The two bump heads over Lena's new college "attitude", not to mention her new boyfriend Dorian (Bumper Robinson). This is one of the few television sitcom appearances made by Tupac, though his appearance was more serious than the show's tone itself.

The season four episode "If I Should Die Before I Wake" dealt with the AIDS epidemic. It featured actress Tisha Campbell-Martin as Hillman student Josie, who reveals during a class project that she has contracted the disease from a former boyfriend and would probably die shortly after graduating college. Because of the reveal, some of the students (including Gina and Terrance) start to treat Josie as an outcast by either covering their face around her, or refusing to have her serve food at the Pit. Their attitudes towards Josie change after being chastised by Kim and Mr. Gaines. The dialogue also causes Whitley (who was still a virgin) to put off a sexual relationship with Dwayne. Whoopi Goldberg stars as the professor who conducts the class.

Connections to The Cosby Show

As a show developed by Bill Cosby for a character from The Cosby Show, A Different World had many connections to its parent program, even before the latter program was created. The third season finale of The Cosby Show, entitled "Hillman", was essentially a pilot episode for the new show.

The theme song was co-written by Stu Gardner, Bill Cosby, and Dawnn Lewis – who was also a cast member. In the online interviews related to the 2006 "Hillman College Reunion," Lewis revealed that her being approached to write the song and to audition were two separate events that occurred within a short time of each other, such that she thought it was a practical joke by her friends. The song was performed by Phoebe Snow in season one, then by Aretha Franklin in seasons two through five, and Boyz II Men and Terrence Forsythe in season six.

The spin-off program featured many appearances by characters from the parent program, especially in the initial season, in which Denise's father Cliff (Bill Cosby), mother Clair (Phylicia Rashad), younger sisters Vanessa (Tempestt Bledsoe) and Rudy, brother Theo (Malcolm-Jamal Warner), and grandfather Russell (Earle Hyman) all appeared on the show, either at Hillman or at the other end of a phone call. Denise's departure from Hillman after Season 1 did not stop her mother from reappearing on the show. Three of Phylicia Rashad's four appearances as Hillman alumna Clair Huxtable took place after season one, and in one of these, she brought her younger daughter Vanessa to tour the college. Sondra was the only Huxtable child not to appear on the show. Martin (Joseph C. Phillips) and Olivia (Raven Symone) appear in season 3 episode "Forever Hold Your Peace" along with Phylicia Rashad and Lisa Bonet. Elvin (Geoffrey Owens) and Pam (Erika Alexander) also never appeared on the show.

Producer/director Debbie Allen is the real-life sister of Phylicia Rashad. Allen made one guest appearance on The Cosby Show, playing an aggressive aerobics instructor who helps Clair slim down for a special occasion. Allen appeared in later seasons in a recurring role as Whitley's psychiatrist. Dwayne and Whitley also visited the Huxtable home in an episode featuring the revelation that Denise had married and would not return to Hillman.

A young Kadeem Hardison appeared on The Cosby Show as one of Theo Huxtable's friends in the first-season episode "A Shirt Story", though not playing Dwayne.

Sinbad also appeared on The Cosby Show as a car salesman in third-season episode "Say Hello to a Good Buy."

A Hillman alumna by the name of "Louise Sujay" was mentioned on both Cosby and A Different World by Clair Huxtable, Whitley Gilbert and her mother Marion.

Like Lisa Bonet, Karen Malina White brought her Cosby Show character to Hillman. Charmaine was the best friend of Clair Huxtable's cousin Pam Tucker. White's Cosby Show costar Allen Payne turned down an offer to bring his role as Charmaine's boyfriend Lance Rodman to A Different World as a regular during Season 6, preferring instead to pursue a movie career; he and Jada Pinkett starred in the 1994 film Jason's Lyric, which is considered to be a milestone in both their careers. Payne did appear in one episode during season five in which Charmaine visits Hillman as a prospective student, bringing Lance along to see if he can gain admission as well. When Charmaine arrives at Hillman, she and Lance are maintaining a long-distance relationship and he is mentioned in multiple episodes. Lance and Charmaine later break up over the phone.

Years later, Tempestt Bledsoe (who played Vanessa on Cosby) and Darryl M. Bell (who played Ron on A Different World) became a real-life couple and co-starred on the 2009 Fox Reality Channel series Househusbands of Hollywood.

Hillman College

Hillman College is a fictional, historically Black college, founded in 1881 and located in the commonwealth of Virginia. The exact locality of the school is never revealed, but several geographic references are made which allude to the campus either being located somewhere in the Hampton Roads area or in the Roanoke Metropolitan Area. The school's motto is Deus Nondum Te Confecit, which literally translates from Latin to: God has not yet finished. The school colors are maroon and gray. Visual shots of the Hillman campus that were used in the series were actually filmed at two real-life Black colleges, Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College, both in Atlanta, Georgia.

The first references to Hillman on The Cosby Show were made during season one, when it is mentioned as the place where Cliff Huxtable and Clair Hanks went to school while they were engaged. Cliff's father Russell is also a Hillman alumnus. The school made its first on-screen appearance in the third-season finale of The Cosby Show, titled "Hillman", when Cliff and Clair and their family attend a Hillman commencement ceremony which also honored a retiring professor.

Hillman College Reunion

In August 2006, Nick at Nite aired a week-long marathon showing episodes of A Different World. Lisa Bonet, Dawnn Lewis, Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Darryl M. Bell, Cree Summer, and Sinbad reunited for short vignettes that provided a glimpse of the current state of their characters. Nick at Nite's "Hillman College Reunion"[13] website added details beyond those shown on television.

Reception

Ratings

Critics say that A Different World benefited from airing between The Cosby Show and Cheers on Thursday night; however, the show consistently ranked first or second among African American viewers during most of its run.[14]

Media reaction

The Hollywood Reporter is quoted as stating that when Debbie Allen became the producer (and usually director) of A Different World after the first season, she transformed it "from a bland Cosby spin-off into a lively, socially responsible, ensemble situation comedy."[14]

The Museum of Broadcast Communications states that Debbie Allen:

a graduate of historically black Howard University – drew from her college experiences in an effort to accurately reflect in the show the social and political life on black campuses. Moreover, Allen instituted a yearly spring trip to Atlanta where series writers visited three of the nation's leading black colleges, Clark Atlanta, Morehouse and Spelman. During these visits, ideas for several of the episodes emerged from meetings with students and faculty."[14]

On August 23 & 24, 2012, Debbie Allen, the former chief creative force of A Different World from 1988 to 1993, wrote on Twitter that she wants to reboot A Different World. Over a million people on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs reacted to the tweet and approve the potential reboot.[15]

Impact on African-American culture

Because of Debbie Allen's influence as the producer (and usually director) of A Different World after the first season, African-American youth who watched the show often cite it as a defining reason why many of them decided to attend a historically Black college or university.[16][17]

Home media

Urban Works released Season 1 of A Different World on DVD in Region 1 on November 8, 2005. Several release dates for a Season 2 DVD were announced (May 2006,[18] July 2006,[19] and September 2006[20]), but the DVD was never released. Urban Works was acquired by First Look Studios in early 2006. The distribution rights for the series have since reverted to the production company, Carsey-Werner Productions.

DVD Title Release Date No. of
Episodes
Additional Information
Season 1 November 8, 2005 22
  • cast interviews
  • out-takes
  • a retrospective overview of the series with cast members
  • an un-aired, "lost" episode featuring Tupac Shakur and Jada Pinkett-Smith

See also

References

  1. ^ "Hampton U the Real Hillman: Bledsoe and Bell Share with HU Students". Hampton University. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
  2. ^ Haithman, Diane (October 6, 1988). "Different Touch to 'Different World'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  3. ^ "DIFFERENT WORLD, A". Archive of American Television. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  4. ^ La Deane, Alice (January 13, 1992). "'Different World' Goes Beyond Realm of 'Sitcom'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  5. ^ "Jay Sandrich". Archive of American Television. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  6. ^ "Anne Beatts". Archive of American Television. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  7. ^ "Marcy Carsey". Archive of American Television. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Debbie Allen". Archive of American Television. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  9. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (Ninth ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 1691–1693. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  10. ^ "As 'A Different World' Turns". EW.com. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  11. ^ "Mitsubishi Settles With Women In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit". New York Times. August 29, 1997.
  12. ^ Braxton, Greg (August 13, 1992). "A 'Different' Take on the L.A. Riots : Television: Industry and Civic Leaders are Both Impressed and Nervous as 'A Different World' Opens a New Season by Dealing with the Unrest". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  13. ^ "Hillman College Reunion". tvland.com. Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. Retrieved August 30, 2006.
  14. ^ a b c "The Museum of Broadcast Communications – Encyclopedia of Television". Museum.tv. Archived from the original on February 10, 2006. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  15. ^ Aziz, Naeesa. "Where Are All the Black TV Shows? | News". BET. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  16. ^ Moodie-Mills, Danielle (December 1, 2012). "Lessons From 'A Different World'". Huffington Post. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  17. ^ "Will The Days of "A Different World" Ever Return?". Madamenoire.com. May 24, 2011. Retrieved November 11, 2013.
  18. ^ Lambert, David (December 31, 2005). "A Different World DVD news: Release Date & Too-Good-To-Be-True Price For A Different World - Season 2". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  19. ^ Lambert, David (April 29, 2006). "A Different World DVD news: A Different DVD Delay". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  20. ^ Lambert, David (July 27, 2006). "A Different World DVD news: What's going on with season 2?". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on January 20, 2018. Retrieved January 19, 2018.

External links

Cree Summer

Cree Summer Francks (born July 7, 1969) is an American-Canadian actress, voice actress and singer.

She is known for playing Winifred "Freddie" Brooks on the NBC sitcom A Different World. In animation, Summer was the original voice of Penny in the 1983 cartoon Inspector Gadget. She also voiced Elmyra Duff in Tiny Toon Adventures and Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, Susie Carmichael in Rugrats and All Grown Up!, Numbuh 5 in Codename: Kids Next Door, Cleo the Poodle in Clifford the Big Red Dog, Princess Kida in the franchise of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Valerie Gray in Danny Phantom, Rayna Cartflight in The Buzz on Maggie, Beast Girl in Teen Titans Go!, Priscilla Skunk in Sheriff Callie's Wild West, Maxine "Max" Gibson in Batman Beyond, Foxxy Love in Drawn Together, Magma in X-Men Legends, Yvonne and Gordon in Mrs. Munger's Class, Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy and Witch Haggar in Voltron: Legendary Defender. She also voiced the character Mo in the Horrible Histories.

Dawnn Lewis

Dawnn J. Lewis (born August 13, 1961) is an American actress, singer, voice actress , and songwriter. Lewis is best known for her role as Jaleesa Vinson–Taylor on the NBC television sitcom A Different World from the series beginning in 1987 until the end of its fifth season in 1992, in addition to being on the show; Lewis co–wrote the theme song.

Lewis's other notable roles include portraying Robin Dumars on the ABC sitcom Hangin' With Mr. Cooper for its first season (1992–93) and as Cheryl Spade in the 1988 film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Since then, Lewis has appeared in numerous TV series, including other sitcoms, and has also performed on stage.

Debbie Allen

Deborah Kaye Allen (born January 16, 1950) is an American actress, dancer, choreographer, television director, television producer, and a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. She is perhaps best known for her work on the 1982 musical-drama television series Fame, where she portrayed dance teacher Lydia Grant, and served as the series' principal choreographer. She currently portrays Catherine Fox on Grey's Anatomy. She is the younger sister of actress/director/singer Phylicia Rashad.

Denise Huxtable

Denise Huxtable Kendall is a fictional character who appears on the American sitcom The Cosby Show (1984–1991), portrayed by actress Lisa Bonet. Denise also stars in the first season of its spin-off sitcom, A Different World (1987). The second-born child of Cliff and Clair Huxtable, Denise is known for her eccentric clothing and free-spirited, rebellious nature, earning her a reputation as the Huxtable family's wild child. Alternating between being a regular and recurring character, Denise appears on the sitcom on-and-off throughout its eight-year run, from its pilot "Theo's Economic Lesson" to the seventh season episode "Cliff and Jake", for a total of 98 episodes, after which Bonet departed for the remainder of the series.

Created by comedian Bill Cosby, Denise was originally conceived as the Huxtable's eldest child until older sister Sondra was introduced in the show's second episode to show that her parents had already successfully raised a college-educated daughter. Struggling academically, Denise drops out of college shortly after enrolling at the historically black Hillman College and briefly returns home to explore various career opportunities before traveling to Africa. While there, she meets and marries Lt. Martin Kendall, becoming stepmother to his daughter Olivia. Bonet was quickly cast as Denise because the producers felt that she naturally embodied some of the character's unique characteristics. Based on Cosby's daughter Erinn, the show's creator incorporated real-life experiences from his relationship with his own daughter into Denise's storyline about self-discovery and independence.

Bonet had a difficult professional relationship with Cosby while working on The Cosby Show, particularly in regards to her decisions to appear in the controversial film Angel Heart (1987) and subsequently pose nude for various magazines. Although Cosby denies having been opposed to Bonet's career trajectory, he developed A Different World amidst their dispute as a means of providing the actress with a more mature platform to express herself. However, Bonet was soon fired from the spin-off shortly after its first season and temporarily rejoined the cast of The Cosby Show when she became pregnant because Cosby was uncomfortable with the prospect of the sitcom's main character becoming a pregnant teenager. After leaving The Cosby Show for one year to give birth to her child, Bonet returned as a series regular at the beginning of its sixth season until Cosby ultimately fired her due to "creative differences" during season seven.

Within months of her debut, Denise became The Cosby Show's most popular character, well-received by young adult viewers who identified with her unique sense of fashion and free-spirited attitude, while establishing Bonet as one of the decade's most popular actresses. Bonet's performance earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1986. Some fans criticized Bonet's role in Angel Heart for dishonoring the wholesome reputation of her best-known character. Denise did not fare as well on A Different World; critics found Bonet uninteresting and often blamed her performance for the show's unimpressive early reviews. Revered as a fashion icon, the character's eclectic style has had a profound impact on modern-day fashion trends; media publications frequently rank Denise among television's best-dressed characters.

Gary Dourdan

Gary Dourdan (born Gary Robert Durdin: December 11, 1966) is an American actor. He is known for portraying Warrick Brown on the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and for portraying Shazza Zulu on the television series A Different World.

I'm in a Different World

"I'm In a Different World" is a song written and produced by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr. It is the final recording they did for the Four Tops before leaving the label due to royalty disputes with Motown. The label issued the song in 1968 as the follow-up single to "Yesterday's Dreams", and peaked at #51 on the US pop chart and #27 on the UK chart.

Jada Pinkett Smith

Jada Koren Pinkett Smith (; born September 18, 1971) is an American actress, singer-songwriter, and businesswoman.

She began her acting career in 1990, with a guest appearance on the short-lived sitcom True Colors, and subsequently starred in the television series A Different World (1991–1993). She made her feature film debut in Menace II Society (1993). Her breakthrough came opposite Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor (1996), and she has since starred in more than 20 feature films, including Set It Off (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Ali (2001), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Matrix Revolutions (2003), the Madagascar films (2005–2012), Bad Moms (2016), and Girls Trip (2017). On television, she has starred in Hawthorne (2009–2011) and Gotham (2014–2016).

Pinkett Smith launched her music career in 2002, when she helped create the metal band Wicked Wisdom, for which she is a singer and songwriter. Along with her husband Will Smith, she has a production company, and has had producing credits in films, documentaries, and television series. She also wrote a children's book, Girls Hold Up This World, which was published in 2004.

With Smith, to whom Jada has been married since 1997, she has two children, son Jaden and daughter Willow. Through their marriage she is also stepmother to Smith's son from his first marriage, Trey Smith.

Jasmine Guy

Jasmine Guy (born March 10, 1962) is an American actress, director, singer and dancer. Guy is known for her role as Dina in the 1988 film School Daze and as Whitley Gilbert-Wayne on the NBC Bill Cosby spin-off A Different World, which originally ran from 1987 to 1993. Guy won four consecutive NAACP Image Awards from 1990 through 1993 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on the show.

Kadeem Hardison

Kadeem Hardison (born July 24, 1965) is an American actor and director. He is best known for his role Dwayne Wayne on A Different World, a spin-off of the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show. He also starred in the Disney Channel series K.C. Undercover as Craig Cooper, the title character's father. Kadeem played Norman in OWN's Love Is_ before being abruptly cancelled after renewed for Season 2. He is now on Showtime's hit Wall Street drama, Black Monday.

Lisa Bonet

Lilakoi Moon (born Lisa Michelle Bonet, November 16, 1967) is an American actress. Bonet is best known for her role as Denise Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, which originally aired from September 1984 to April 1992, and later originally starring in its spinoff comedy, A Different World, for its first season (1987–88).

List of A Different World episodes

A Different World is a television spin-off of The Cosby Show set at Hillman College, the alma mater of Clair and Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable. It ran for six seasons on NBC, airing a total of 142 episodes, including three hour-long episodes. The last three episodes aired in syndication, bringing the total to 144.

Marisa Tomei

Marisa Tomei (; born December 4, 1964) is an American actress. She is the recipient of various accolades including an Academy Award and nominations for a BAFTA Award, two Golden Globe Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Following her work on the television series As the World Turns, she came to prominence as a cast member on The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World in 1987.

After having minor roles in a few films, she came to international attention in 1992 with the comedy My Cousin Vinny, for which she received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Tomei has appeared in a number of successful movies, including What Women Want (2000), Anger Management (2003), Wild Hogs (2007), and Parental Guidance (2012). Other films include Untamed Heart (1993), Only You (1994), The Paper (1994), Unhook the Stars (1996), Slums of Beverly Hills (1998), Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), Cyrus (2010), Love Is Strange (2014) and The Big Short (2015). She received two additional Academy Award nominations for In the Bedroom (2001) and The Wrestler (2008).

She has also portrayed Aunt May in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, appearing in the films Captain America: Civil War (2016), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) and in the upcoming Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019).

Tomei has also worked in theater. She was formerly involved with the Naked Angels Theater Company and appeared in plays, such as Daughters (1986), Wait Until Dark (1998), Top Girls (2008), for which she received a nomination for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play, and The Realistic Joneses (2014), for which she received a special award at the Drama Desk Awards.

Patti LaBelle

Patti LaBelle (born Patricia Louise Holte; May 24, 1944) is an American singer, actress, and entrepreneur. LaBelle began her career in the early 1960s as lead singer and front woman of the vocal group, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. Following the group's name change to Labelle in the early 1970s, they released the iconic disco song "Lady Marmalade" and the group later became the first African-American vocal group to land the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.After the group split in 1976, LaBelle began a successful solo career, starting with her critically acclaimed debut album, which included the career-defining song, "You Are My Friend". LaBelle became a mainstream solo star in 1984 following the success of the singles, "If Only You Knew", "New Attitude" and "Stir It Up", with the latter two crossing over to pop audiences and becoming radio staples.Less than two years later, in 1986, LaBelle scored with the number-one album, Winner in You and the number-one duet single, "On My Own", with Michael McDonald. LaBelle eventually won a 1992 Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her 1991 album, Burnin', followed by a second Grammy win for the live album, Live! One Night Only. Her 1990s albums, Burnin', Gems (1994) and Flame (1997), continued her popularity with young R&B audiences throughout the decade. Following the release of two mildly receptive solo albums in the early new millennium, she reunited with her Labelle band mates for the album, Back to Now, followed by a briefly well received promotional tour. LaBelle's success has extended as an actress with a notable role in the film, A Soldier's Story, and in TV shows such as A Different World and American Horror Story: Freak Show. In 1992, LaBelle starred in her own TV sitcom, Out All Night. A decade later, LaBelle hosted her own lifestyle TV show, Living It Up with Patti LaBelle on TV One. In 2015, LaBelle took part in the dance competition, Dancing with the Stars.

In a career that has spanned fifty years, she has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. LaBelle has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame. LaBelle was included in Rolling Stone on their list of 100 Greatest Singers. LaBelle is commonly identified as the "Godmother of Soul". LaBelle is a dramatic soprano and is noted for her vocal power, range and emotive delivery. She also has a cake named "Patti LaBelle's Fancy Cake".

Sinbad (comedian)

David Adkins (born November 10, 1956), better known by his stage name Sinbad (), is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He became known in the 1990s from being featured on his own HBO specials, appearing on several television series, and starring in the films Necessary Roughness, Houseguest, First Kid, Jingle All the Way, and Good Burger.

The Cheeky Girls

The Cheeky Girls are a Romanian-born British-based recording act consisting of twin sisters Gabriela and Monica Irimia (born 31 October 1982), originally from Cluj-Napoca. After appearing as auditionees in Popstars: The Rivals, they achieved success in the charts with four top 10 hits between 2002 and 2004. They are best known for their debut single, "Cheeky Song (Touch My Bum)", which has sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide.

The Cosby Show

The Cosby Show is an American television sitcom co-created and starring Bill Cosby, which aired for eight seasons on NBC from September 20, 1984, until April 30, 1992. The show focuses on the Huxtable family, an upper middle-class African-American family living in Brooklyn, New York.

The Cosby Show spent five consecutive seasons as the number-one rated show on television. The Cosby Show and All in the Family are the only sitcoms in the history of the Nielsen ratings to be the number-one show for five seasons. It spent all eight of its seasons in the top 20.According to TV Guide, the show "was TV's biggest hit in the 1980s, and almost single-handedly revived the sitcom genre and NBC's ratings fortunes." TV Guide also ranked it 28th on their list of 50 Greatest Shows. In addition, Cliff Huxtable was named as the "Greatest Television Dad".In May 1992, Entertainment Weekly stated that The Cosby Show helped to make possible a larger variety of shows with a predominantly African-American cast, from In Living Color to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. The Cosby Show was based on comedy routines in Cosby's stand-up act, which in turn were based on his family life. The show led to the spinoff A Different World, which ran for six seasons from 1987 to 1993.

The Serenity of Suffering

The Serenity of Suffering is the twelfth studio album by American nu metal band Korn, released on October 21, 2016. According to guitarist Brian Welch, it is "heavier than anyone's heard us in a long time" and it contains their most intense music in a long time vocally as well.

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