1. “A Different World” CastSource:Getty
Whether you’re an 80s, 90s, or 00s baby, you’re familiar with the Hillman College crew from the hit television show, “A Different World.” The sitcom premiered 30 years ago and over the course of six seasons, the whole gang became a household favorite and a model about college life. Even if you weren’t old enough to enjoy “A Different World” during it’s six year run, you can recall the rocky relationship of Whitley and Dwayne, the smoothness of Dwayne’s sidekick Ron and the wittiness of Mr. Gaines and Coach Oakes. While we’re taking a trip down memory lane, let’s see just what Whitley, Dwyane, Denise, Mr. Gaines, Ron and the whole crew have been up to since the show’s cancellation.
2. THEN: Whitley Gilbert (a.k.a Jasmine Guy)Source:Getty
Jasmine Guy exploded on the screen playing the bourge Whitney Gilbert on “A Different World”. During the show’s run, the Boston native released her first and only album; self- titled “Jasmine Guy” in 1990. Although her music career was short lived, her ties to the music industry were extremely strong, as she became good friends with the late rapper, Tupac Shakur, through her co-star, Jada Pinkett- Smith.
3. NOW: Whitley Gilbert (a.k.a Jasmine Guy)Source:Getty
4. THEN: Dwayne Wayne (a.k.a Kadeem Hardison)Source:Getty
How could you not love Dwayne Wayne? With his corky glasses, nerdy yet charming personality and cute relationship with Whitley, Dwayne Wayne a.k.a Kadeem Hardison was one that definitely stole the show. After the conclusion of “A Different World,” Kadeem found himself playing Fantasia Barrino’s father in her Lifetime movie, “Life Is Not A Fairytale.”
5. Dwayne Wayne (a.k.a Kadeem Hardison)Source:Getty
6. THEN: Coach Walter Oakes (a.k.a. Sinbad)
After “A Different World” ended, comedian Sinbad went on to star in his own television show, “The Sinbad Show”. He also starred in the box office hit “Necessary Roughness” and hosted the television talent competition show, “Showtime at the Apollo”.
7. NOW: Coach Walter Oakes (a.k.a. Sinbad)Source:Getty
8. THEN: Vernon Gaines (a.k.a Lou Myers)
Who could forget Lou Myers as Mr. Vernon Gaines on a “Different World”? After the show ended, he went on to appear in the Broadway musical, “The Color Purple” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. He’s also appeared in films such as “The Fighting Temptations” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”. Lou Myers passed away on February 19.
9. RIP: Vernon Gaines (a.k.a Lou Myers)
10. THEN: Lena James (a.k.a Jada Pinkett Smith)
Jada Pinkett Smith needs no introduction. Since her run on “A Different World” as the sassy Lena James, Jada has went on to become one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. She’s appeared in movies such as “Jason’s Lyric,” “Set It Off,” “The Nutty Professor,” “Ali,” two of the “Matrix” films and more. She married fellow actor, Will Smith and together the couple have two children, Willow and Jaden Smith.
11. NOW: Lena James (a.k.a Jada Pinkett Smith)Source:Getty
12. THEN: Winifred “Freddie” Brooks (a.k.a. Cree Summer)
Cree Summer played the role of Freddie Brooks on “A Different World.” After the show was canceled, she went on to do voice-over work for cartoons including a few 90s baby’s favorites, “Rugrats” and “Inspector Gadget.” She also appeared in television shows such as “Living Single” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel– Air” in the 1990s.
13. NOW: Winifred “Freddie” Brooks (a.k.a. Cree Summer)Source:Getty
14. THEN: Jaleesa Vinson (a.k.a Dawnn Lewis)
Following the end of “A Different World”, the actress who played Jaleesa, Dawn Lewis, went on to play Robin in “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” (remember that show!?). She also appeared alongside Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce in the film, “Dreamgirls” and starred in the theater version of “Sister Act.”
15. NOW: Jaleesa Vinson (a.k.a Dawnn Lewis)
16. THEN: Ronald “Ron” Johnson (a.k.a. Darryl M. Bell)
Dwayne’s witty sidekick, Ron Johnson, was definitely one of my favorite characters on “A Different World.” Darryl Bell played the role of Ron and kept us on our toes with his schemes to get rich quick, stay fresh and fly and of course get all the ladies! Darryl is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
17. NOW: Ronald “Ron” Johnson (a.k.a. Darryl M. Bell)Source:Getty
18. THEN: Denise Huxtable (a.k.a Lisa Bonet)
Lisa Bonet is probably one of the most recognizable faces from the cast of “A Different World.” Although she only appeared on “A Different World” for one season, she’s always remembered as Denise Huxtable. Since her roles on “Cosby” and “A Different World”, she went on to play in “Biker Boyz”, “Enemy of the State” and more.