Thu, Nov 16, 2023
North Avenue Academic Center
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the iconic television series A Different World, we bring together the beloved cast members, Kadeem Hardison, Jasmine Guy, Darryl M. Bell, and Cree Summer, to explore whether it is indeed still “a different world” in the present day. This panel promises to be a nostalgic yet thought-provoking journey through the lens of a show that left an indelible mark on television and society.
A Different World, a groundbreaking spin-off of The Cosby Show, tackled the issues and experiences of young Black students attending a historically Black college. Through laughter, drama, and heartfelt moments, it addressed a variety of social, political, and cultural topics. As we commemorate its 35th year, this special panel event aims to delve into the show’s legacy, its enduring influence, and how the world itself has evolved since its inception.
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Kadeem Hardison grew up in New York City and currently resides in Los Angeles. He is best known for his iconic role as Dwayne Wayne on The Cosby Show spinoff, A Different World.
He’s worked on some great films and television shows, including but not limited to The Sixth Man, White Men Can’t Jump, Teenage Bounty Hunters, Love Is_, Moonhaven & many more.
Darryl M. Bell, an accomplished producer, actor, speaker, and entrepreneur with a powerful business background, possesses a career-long reputation for bringing talent, hard work, storytelling, positivity and a vision for diversity to the Entertainment industry. After a chance encounter with the iconic Spike Lee, Bell used his savvy, inventiveness and self-reliance to land an audition with the famed director. Bell was cast in the film School Daze alongside Giancarlo Esposito and Lawrence Fishburn. This launched Bell’s acting career, which would include commercials, voice-over, stand-up comedy, writing and producing.
Following his breakthrough role in Lee’s 1988 School Daze, Bell’s celebrity status was cemented, playing Ron Johnson in the hit show, A Different World, which is among the highest-rated shows in the history of television. Over six exceptional seasons, A Different World depicted college life at the fictitious Historically Black College, Hillman, engaging and educating audiences about society’s controversial current events through comedy. From discrimination to AIDS, apartheid and war, A Different World made an award-winning impact on television that broke boundaries and pushed the envelope. With this experience, Bell refined a niche for breaking down barriers and telling impactful stories across platforms with all audiences.
Following several more on-screen roles – including on Living Single, Half and Half, Homeboys in OuterSpace – and more, Bell set his sights on affecting change in the industry as a content creator. Bell began his producing career partnering with Bill Cosby. As an Executive Producer, along with the Levity Entertainment Group, the team produced Bill Cosby: Far from Finished for Comedy Central, which went on to become the highest-rating stand-up comedy show in 2013. Bell found additional success with FX, Fox, Netflix and Amazon
In 2015, Bell launched his own production company. True to his passions, Bell remains focused on developing and producing engaging projects that tell, not only unique stories with complex characters, but diverse ones. Bell’s company is involved in multiple productions at this time, including feature films, documentaries as well as two unscripted series. His most recent show, Make Me Scream, will debut in October on Amazon.
Born in Chicago, and raised in New Jersey, by his mother Sandra Bell and his father, Travers J. Bell Jr., the founder of the first Black Member firm of the New York Stock Exchange. As a result, the pillars of Bell’s upbringing included strategy, negotiation, and strong financial knowledge. After graduating from high school as one of only four African American students in his class, Bell attended Syracuse University, where he was awarded the chancellor’s citation for prominent Alumni in 1986 and is a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alphfraternity, Inc.
When not behind the lens or with his family, Bell can be found speaking at colleges across the country, advocating on behalf of Small Businesses or on the golf course trying to perfect his swing. Delusionally dreaming he was on the PGA Tour.
Jasmine Guy continues to enjoy a diverse career in the arts. Well known for the iconic role of Whitley Gilbert on the 1990s hit television series A Different World, Jasmine can be seen next in Harlem, the new comedy series from Tracy Oliver for Amazon Prime, currently in production, and Relentless, a movie for Lifetime that will air later this year. Her long list of television credits include her recent multi-episode role in Grey’s Anatomy, Showtime’s Dead Like Me, HBO’s America Me, BET’s The Quad, the CW’s Vampire Diaries, NBC’s The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and the CBS miniseries Queen and Stompin’ at the Savoy. In 2019, she starred in the Oscar-nominated short film My Nephew Emmett and HBO’s short film Irreconcilable. Jasmine’s other film credits include October Baby, Spike Lee’s School Daze, Eddie Murphy’s Harlem Nights and Diamond Men.
Jasmine’s Broadway performances range from The Alvin Ailey Repertory Company to
Grease (as Rizzo), to Leader of the Pack to The Wiz to Chicago (as Velma Kelly). On stage in Atlanta, she starred in the Alliance Theatre production of Pearl Cleage’s The Nacerima Society, Theatrical Outfit’s production of Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love (with Kenny Leon), and she has starred in Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre productions of Miss Evers’ Boys, Blues for an Alabama Sky and Broke-ology. She has directed productions of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Brownie Points and the Martin Luther King, Jr. opera I Dream.
Guy is the author of the book Evolution of a Revolutionary (Atria Books), about the life and times of Afeni Shakur, black activist and mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur.
As a vocalist, Jasmine has enjoyed performing on Broadway stages in musicals and has toured the country in the one-woman show Raisin’ Came, with the Avery Sharpe Trio. Raisin’ Cane explores the literature, music and political climate of the Harlem Renaissance, the rich decade between World War I and the Great Depression.
In the early 1990s, Jasmine’s debut self-titled album (Warner Bros. Records) crossed over musical genres with her hit songs “Try Me,” “Another Like My Lover” and “Just Wanna Hold You.”
Jasmine now travels the country, sharing her vast and diverse experiences with people from all walks of life. She speaks at colleges, universities, conventions and conferences and leads workshops on diversity, acting and living out your dreams, your aspirations and your calling.