The description Hulu has for the groundbreaking college show A Different World is as followed: “A group of students at a historically Black university struggle to make it through college.”Except for the students going to a historically black university, this description couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, their description is borderline offensive. These black students are intelligent, full of life and navigating the college world with full force! Don’t let the fact that the show was originally created by Bill Cosby put you off. Cosby may have appeared in one or two episodes, but the show had nothing at all to do with Cosby’s famous character Dr. Cliff Huxtable.
The fist season actually focused on Cliff’s daughter Denise, but after the first season, the character was no longer in the show. A Different World actually added some more interesting characters such as the future doctor Kimberly Reese and the always hustling Ron Johnson. The beauty of this show that premiered in the late 80s is that the show highlighted the personalities and lives of young black kids from all walks of life.
The show dealt with very serious matters such date rape, discrimination and even class relations. There has been no other show on television since this series went off. Just like back then, it is so important for young people of color to see such positive representations of themselves.
A Different World showcased so many different personalities. You had Freddie the bi-racial flower child who loved protesting, Dwayne Wade who was a nerdy engineer who loved math, and the star of the show Witley who had no clue how the real world works. As brilliant as this show was it is sad that it never received more recognition by the mainstream media.
However, since it’s available on Hulu and Netflix you can now experience it for yourself. The episodes are only about 25 minutes long but, since it was on for 6 years and feature 144 episodes, you’ll spend plenty of time with these electric college students.