Debbie Allen UNCENSORED: I Introduced Jada Pinkett To Will Smith

Famed director and choregrapher Debbie Allen, in TV One’s UNCENSORED, says, “there are so many great episodes of A Different World.” Allen directed the popular Cosby Show spinoff after the first year on air. She had already been acting in the show. Remember the episode where she played the psychiatrist who instructed Whitley (Jasmine Guy) to “Relax, Relate, Release,” a phrase Whitley would say throughout the show’s seasons. “It became a real classic thing,” laughs Allen, “People are still doing it.”

Allen says she had been invited to take over the sitcom because she had gone to Howard University, and the fictional Hillman campus “needed to get the cultural identity of the show to become something that was real.” Allen came from an era where she says; her college class was the first to take over the school, demanding more African American studies at her Alma Mater. 

Of A Different World, “I got the writers and the actors to be more of a unit. I had fun on that show.”

Allen shares how she knew or met some of the other cast members such as Sinbad, Kadeem Hardison, whose mother Bethann Hardison was one of the biggest fashion models out of New York and activist. “He used to jump on my waterbed when he was seven or eight years old,” Allen says of a young Kadeem.

I discovered Jada Pinket, who became Jada Pinkett-Smith. I introduced them (Will and Jada). I directed the pilot episode of Fresh Prince. She goes on to say Will Smith liked to hang around the set of A Different World because the “vibe was just so cool, and he wanted that on his show.”

Watch the clip of Debbie Allen UNCENSORED here.


Tune in to Debbie Allen’s “UNCENSORED” episode this Sunday, October 4 at 10 P.M. ET/9C followed by an encore presentation at 11 P.M. ET/10C. The episode will re-air on Wednesday, October 7 at 10 PM/9C.

Source: UNCENSORED / TV One | Photo Credit: EMILY SHUR