‘A Different World’ Cast Set To Reunite For 10-City HBCU Tour

A Different World class reunion is in order. The cast of the iconic show is set to reunite for a 10-city HBCU tour. According to People, the trek will commemorate the show’s 35th anniversary. 

Most of the original cast will participate in the collegiate celebration. Fans can expect to see appearances from Darryl M. Bell who plays Ronald ‘Ron’ Johnson, Charnele Brown, who portrayed Kimberly ‘Kim’ Reese on the show, Jasmine Guy, known as ADW’s Whitley Marion Gilbert Wayne, Kadeem Hardison, who played Dwayne Cleophus Wayne, Dawnn Lewis, the woman who played Jaleesa Vinson Taylor, Winifred ‘Freddie’ Brooks aka Cree Summer, Glynn Turman, who played Col. Bradford ‘Brad’ Taylor, and Sinbad who portrayed Walter Oakes. A Different World’s producers, Debbie Allen and Susan Fales, will also appear at the class reunion.

Bell spoke about the upcoming reunion in an official statement to People. He insisted that the goal of the reunion is deeper than capitalizing on nostalgia. Bell stated that the cast intends to inspire and celebrate today’s and tomorrow’s leaders.

“The cast of A Different World has come together to celebrate our 35-year legacy and make more history with today’s HBCUs and tomorrow’s leaders!” Darryl Bell said. “Our mission goes beyond nostalgia. We’re on a quest to raise awareness and enrollment for HBCUs nationwide. By leveraging the star power and cultural impact of A Different World, we aim to inspire a new generation to choose HBCUs as their academic homes. We’re not just telling a story; we’re rewriting the narrative.”

The outlet reports that the crew will partake in events and live panel discussions surrounding the show’s enduring legacy, academia, and, of course, Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The collegiate tour will commence on Thursday (Feb. 29) in Atlanta at the Atlanta University Center. The Atlanta University Center is home to Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University.

Other cities featured on the tour include Montgomery, Ala, hosted by Alabama State University and Tuskegee University, and Washington, D.C., which Howard University will host. The outlet reports that both D.C. and Bama’s tour dates are scheduled for April. 

A Different World premiered in September 1987. The show ran for six seasons on NBC until ending in 1993. The show originally began as a spin-off of the uber-popular Cosby Show. Lisa Bonet was the original main character, reprising her role as Denise Huxtable. It followed Benet in a coming-of-age story as she matured along with the various students of Hillman College, Virginia’s fictional HBCU. 

According to Entertainment Weekly, Benet was let go from the show after she became pregnant with then-husband Lenny Kravitz‘s baby. Marisa Tomei, who played Maggie Lauten, was also booted from the show after one season. Showbiz Cheat Sheet reported that, after Debbie Allen took over, she wanted to include Tomei in a Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner-type storyline featuring Kadeem. However, NBC executives were not receptive to the interracial couple and ultimately fought to remove Marisa from the show. Loretta Divine, who portrayed the housemother, also left the show after one season.

Seasons 2-6 would then platform numerous future stars, including Jada Pinkett Smith, Tisha Campbell, Whoopi Goldberg, Tupac Shakur, Raven-Symoné, and more.