“I know my parents love me, stand behind me come one day”, many of us are familiar with the beginning of this popular theme song. It belongs to one of the greatest Black television shows in the history of television shows, A Different World. This show was groundbreaking because for the first time ever audiences across America would be able to gain insight of what it was like being a black student at a historically black college and university in the 1990’s. This show is as funny and as real as they come. It covered many issues that the black community deals with but doesn’t often speak about. Friendships, relationships, success and loss...let's not forget one of the greatest television couples of all time, Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert! Here is a list of some awesome episodes that have a strong message. All college students should consider watching this series because this show teaches us that as we grow older and wiser it really is "A Different World”.
1. Season 5, Episode 14 – "Cats In the Cradle"
In this episode two of the main characters Ron and Dwayne experience discrimination when white students from a rival school spray paint a derogatory word on Ron’s car. This episode is a great depiction of something that still happens to this very day, discrimination amongst young black men.
2. Season 5, Episode 11 – "Mammy Dearest"
This episode is one of my personal favorites because of the groundbreaking performance this talented cast showcased at the end of the episode. In this episode Whitley stresses the importance of the historical black Mammy figure. Her peers don’t understand why Mammy is such an important character in African American history until they learned the real truth about what she represents.
3. Season 2, episode 20 – "No Means No"
This episode is vital for all young women in college. This episode deals with exactly what the title says “No Means No” when it comes to sex. Freddie is a main character and a young black women who will learn the lesson of listening to her friends warning her about a guy who may not be good for her.
4. Season 3, episode 14 – "Pride and Prejudice"
In this episode Whitley who is a main character experiences prejudice when buying jewelry at a high-end jewelry store. This episode highlights the stereotypes people of color sometimes experience when shopping in stores.
5. Season 3, episode 15 – "Success, Lies and Videotape"
This episode is quite interesting because Freddie discovers a historical hideout hidden behind the walls of Gilbert Hall laundry room. I wont spoil the episode for those who have never seen it, but this episode is definitely a powerful one.
6. Season 4, episode 3 - "Blues for Nobody’s Child"
For readers who love children this episode will definitely hit home. It deals with the topic of child adoption and how so many young girls and boys are waiting to be adopted but it may sadly never happen. Freddie develops a relationship with a little boy who desperately wants to be adopted. Little did she know she would be changing his life for the better.
7. Season 4, episode 12 - "War & Peace"
Grab a tissue folks because if you are a crier this episode will make you shed a tear. One of Dwayne’s closest friends is about to leave for war in the Persian Gulf. It truly gets you inside of the mind of a young Black man whose life is about to completely change. He’s unsure what kind of change war will be but he knows it wont be easy.
8. Season 4, episode 23 – "If I Should Die Before I Wake"
Do you love Tisha Martin-Campbell? Well I know I do. Tisha makes a guest appearance but its one you wont forget. The surprise her character brings to the show is one that thousands of people battle day to day. This episode brings awareness to a topic that many find scary, but it is necessary to talk about. You will see how a speech class ended up changing these characters lives.
9. Season 5, episode 15 – "Prisoner of Love"
Ever heard about the “School to Prison pipeline”? Probably not, many people are very uneducated when it comes to learning the facts about men in prison, black men for that matter. This episode gives the perspective of what it is like for a black man who was just released from prison. It can be a very cold and judgmental world; even if you’re a good person, so imagine someone who wants to change their life but cant escape judgment and stereotypes.
10. Season 2, episode 16 – "It's Greek to Me"
It was pledging season, Dwayne and Ron decided that they wanted to become men of Kappa Lambda Nu. However, this episode shows viewers and individuals interested in the Greek world that it isn’t made for everybody but that doesn’t make you any less great. This episodes messages teaches viewers about the strength forget about your older friendships when making new ones.