I know my parents loved me
Stand behind me come what may…
“Ah yes,” the start of the familiar tune of the television show A Different World that, in the words of Red Table Talk co-host Jada Pinkett Smith, launched many countless careers, including hers. As the song played out, an excited Pinkett-Smith welcomed some of the cast of the iconic sitcom to the table. Creative genius Debbie Allen, Jasmine Guy (Whitley), Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne Wayne), and later in the segment, Dawnn Lewis (Jalessa) and Darryl M. Bell (Ron). Cree Summer, the free-spirited character “Freddie,” pre-recorded her heartfelt video message to her former castmates, as did Glynn Turman, who played Colonel Bradford, and first-season actress Marisa Tomei (Maggie). Charnele Brown (Kimberly Reese), Ajai Sanders (Gina), and Karen Malina White (Charmaine) all joined in by live video from their respective places.
Pinkett-Smith, joined by fellow co-host and mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris gave Allen her flowers in person. Pinkett-Smith for the opportunity that Allen created a part just for her, Banfield-Norris that the director and producer gave her daughter a chance, and Allen responded in the wonderful sassiness we know and love, “Jada walked in ready!”
The show’s impact is as strong as when it debuted in 1987 and ended in 1993. So much so, Pinkett-Smith included a few video messages from fans of the show, whose college journey was greatly influenced by the fictitious Hillman College.
Watch as the cast reflected on their favorite episodes. There is the significance of being a part of history with timeless subject matters still relevant today. The show also enjoyed a wonderful list of guest stars, such as Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Whoopi Goldberg, and the late Tupac Shakur, Lena Horne, and Aretha Franklin, who sang Season two of the theme song.
A Different World made and still does make a difference 35 years later.
Photo: Red Table Talk