The hit late-80s sitcom A Different World was instrumental in shaping the narrative surrounding Black students and higher education. The cast of the show recently paid it forward by presenting a $100,000 check from Ford to an HBCU, Ebony reported.
The check, which was a part of Ford’s Ultimate Homecoming Takeover initiative, was given to Southwestern Christian College in Texas, the news outlet writes. The initiative was launched as an avenue to empower Black students to further their education and strengthen programs at historically Black colleges and universities across the country. Amongst the cast members who presented the check were Cree Summer, Jasmine Guy, Darryl Bell, and Kadeem Hardison.
The actors discussed the Black experience at colleges and universities throughout the country and spoke about the influence of their show. “I loved the diversity of the cast. Usually, actors are the Black person on a show [as in there’s only one type of black person] and it’s very hard to represent everything about Black people in one person,” said Guy, according to the news outlet. “We had different classes, different colorings, different backgrounds, different aspirations and that’s one thing I loved about A Different World. It showed the true spirit about what being Black is, and that it is diverse within itself.”
Bell added that the show was powerful in sparking important conversations surrounding the Black community as the storylines addressed social and political issues. “No matter what topic was discussed, it wasn’t a monolithic response; it was something that was always challenging and relevant, it was important and we managed to be funny while we did it! That’s why I think it lasted so long and stayed evergreen,” he said.