Young, gifted and Black: The impact of ‘A Different World’ 30 years later

A DIFFERENT WORLD -- "Answered Prayers" Episode 9 -- Aired 12/7/89 -- Pictured: (l-r) Kadeem Hardison as Dwayne Cleophus Wayne, Jasmine Guy as Whitley Marion Gilbert Wayne, Cree Summer as Winifred 'Freddie' Brooks -- (Photo by: Gene Trindl/NBCU Photo Bank)

By Jessica Littles,

NBC’s A Different World was more than just a show.

“We got a call from the Assistant DA of Buck County Pennsylvania, because there was a little girl who had been raped by her neighbor while she was selling Girl Scout cookies,” Susan Fales-Hill told ESSENCE. “She was seven, so she didn’t know what had happened to her. And then six months later she saw [the episode we did on date rape], and it gave her the vocabulary to go tell her parents. They wanted to know about the episode because they were going to introduce it into evidence.”

Hill was a writer and producer on A Different World during the Season 2 episode “No Means No” which addressed date rape on college campuses.

“Moments like that, we realized okay, we’re a little bit more than the 20 minutes [on television].”


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