With the 20th anniversary of its series finale this year, nostalgia for A Different World is at an all-time high. The show’s biggest stars, Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison, spoke with ESSENCE.com about the show’s impact in addition to their thoughts on their noteworthy characters and which cast mates they still keep in contact with.
ESSENCE.com: Were you aware how much of an influence you would have on America’s black youth?
JASMINE GUY: No, I had no idea. I was so isolated in what we were doing. Going to the set, working on the role. Making sure that Whitley was as believable as possible. I felt that we were funny. I felt that we were relevant for the times, but I really had no idea the show would last this long and that it would have that kind of impact on kids going to school.
ESSENCE.com: Kadeem, was it awkward being Jasmine’s love interest even though you were dating Cree Summer during the show?
HARDISON: That wasn’t even my concern at the time. Dominic [Hoffman], Jasmine’s boyfriend at the time, did some spots on the show. It’s like you have your work wife and home wife. But your home wife also happens to work with you. As much as that could have been sticky, they were so in love with each, it was never an issue. Good God, if you thought me and Darryl were close, he and Jasmine were inseparable. They brought out the silliness in each other.
ESSENCE.com: In the last episode we learn Dwayne and Whitley are expecting their first child. Where do you think they are today?
GUY: I think they’d still be married. I think they’d have a son and he’d be in early adulthood. I think Whitley would still be trying to make Dwayne the man she wanted for her status in society. His concern would always be to take care of her, to take care of his family, be very diligent and hard working. He would also have a love and a tolerance for Whitney that never dies. I think she would still be very controlling and very much in her son’s life too. A happy marriage… but after 20 years, I think some conflict coming up now that their son is gone and they’re less focused on him. Especially for Whitley, I think she might have some sort of crisis, like an identity crisis.
HARDISON: I think four kids in. Still married. Still fighting. Upper middle class probably. Still in love.
ESSENCE.com: Who do you keep in touch with now?
GUY: I still talk to Cree [Summer], Kadeem [Hardison], Debbie [Allen] and I’ve worked with Lou Myers. I see Glynn Turman a lot because he does a lot of theater. We were all together for the last time when A Different World was launching its season on Nickelodeon. We all got together and could not stop laughing. It’s almost like high school when you graduate you keep in touch closer to the ending of the show, but people have moved on and had kids, lives have changed. I would love to get together again. They are my friends, I will always consider them my friends.
HARDISON: Darryl Bell… with him every day or every other day we talk. He and I have always, from the day we met, argued over our knowledge of sports. There aren’t too many days that go by when him and I don’t talk. Me and Cree, we still talk. I see Lisa every now and then. She lives close by, we’re still neighbors.
You can read the Q&A in full over at ESSENCE.com.
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