A Different World Changed My Life
Written by Danny P Ocean on February 26, 2015
The other day I read that a “Different World” is coming to Netflix….. FINALLY! I was a surprised because with the recent allegations that Bill Cosby has experienced I assumed eventually everything with his name attached to it would catch stray shots; Fat Albert, Pudding Pops, ugly sweaters, and A Different World. However, I was happily wrong. Netflix showing African-America’s favorite college in the late 80s-early 90s allows for a new generation to experience Hillman in all of its glory. Maybe Dwayne, Whitley, and Kim can persuade a few more children to go to college like it did for me back in the day.
Flashback to the late 80s….. I hated school like so many other African-American boys. All I wanted to do was spit rhymes. School was of no concern to me. So I spent half of my high school career just skating by, doing just enough to pass class and maintain my “C average.” But something began to change somewhere around junior year, I grabbed a job at Hardee’s.
Hardee’s was by far the worst job I ever had. Not that it was mentally or physically taxing, but I just didn’t want to do the shit. Handling those hot ass biscuits on Sunday mornings for the customers, burning the shit out of my fingers was enough to let me know that I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. And going to the military was not my cup of tea either, so what exactly was a kid like me to do?
College was the answer. Not just any college but a Historically Black College. I wanted to live the life that my mother (Southern University Alum) and my cousins (Dillard, Xavier, Howard) experienced. I wanted to hang out on the yard like Dwayne Wayne and Ron Johnson. I wanted to scoop me a Denise Huxtable. I wanted to go to college.
If it wasn’t for A Different World and School Daze showing me and countless others exactly what it was like to go to a HBCU I am not sure where I would be at this point in my life. I may have gone to college or I may have not. I may have gone to a more “traditional” college with a mixed population, but I guarantee to you that I would not have had the same experiences. Coming from a mid-western city, seeing a campus full of young Black students from all over the world together with the common purpose of getting an education is a memory I would never trade. Eating salty chicken from a restaurant named “Tasty’s” or seeing the drum line parade thru the campus was priceless. The relationships I forged from those years on the yard are ones I will forever cherish. All made possible from entertainment such as A Different World.
So I hope the younglings catch a few episodes on Netflix, maybe by chance or by the insistence of parents. Maybe we can have another mass influx into HBCU’s that we saw back in the 90’s.