How "A Different World" is Still Relevant

A Different World is a staple show in the black community. For anyone who did not get the luxury of watching the show as a child, Netflix has the entire series streaming now. It first aired in 1987, but a lot of the themes and issues the show focused on are still relevant today. The series took the audeicnce on a roller coaster ride at a Historically Black College while teaching the imporatnce of education among young black adults. The sitcom touches on some very serious issues that enlightened the black community, and can still enlighten us today. 

The show confronts gender roles. In the first season there is an episode where Denise and Dwayne challenge gender norms by having Dwayne run for Homecoming Queen. There is a later episode during the 6th season where women rule the country and the world, and men are put in the shoes of women.

The show taught different aspects of African American history and society. During the 5th season the show talks about the history of the Mammy icon while facing issues of colorism in the black community. During the 6th season the series focuses on the LA riots. During the episode about the LA Riots the show also spoke on police brutality within the black community, and how African Americans are unfairly targeted by the police.

Throughtout the series the plot also focused on the strength of the black community while teaching about womanism (the feminist ideology that focuses solely on the plight of the black woman).

There is also an episode that faces sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment in the workplace seems like a thing of the past but business women are constantly faced with this threat.

During the height of the show’s popularity the issue of HIV/AIDS arose and A Different World did not shy away from the subject matter.

During the 3rd season, the show deals with the issue of rape. Rape is still a sticky subject because of the unfair argument of "she was asking for it." The show delves into the facts that without clear consent it is rape.

The show was not afraid to shine a light on racism in America.

Since the show took place at an HBCU there is a theme throughout the series of black power and how to use education to progress in society.