WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Ebone Phillips, a freshman at Winston-Salem State University, wasn’t born when the show “A Different World” originally aired.
But she said she can still learn from one of its stars, actress Jasmine Guy.
“I related to how she said since she was young she knew what she wanted to do; she knew she wanted to be a dancer and I always knew I wanted to go to college and get my degree and do something,” Phillips, an exercise science major from Fayetteville, said.
“So, she knew what she wanted, and I know what I want.”
Phillips was among hundreds of students who listened to Guy, 50, speak Tuesday night before a late-night poetry showcase in Williams Auditorium, as a part of WSSU’s homecoming week celebrations.
“A Different World,” which aired on NBC from 1987-1993, was created by Bill Cosby as a spin-off series of “The Cosby Show.” The show, which was nominated for three Emmy awards, centered on the lives of a group of students at a fictional historically black college, Hillman College.
After the first season, Lisa Bonet, who played Denise Huxtable, left the show and Guy, who played Southern belle Whitley Gilbert, became the focus. The show tackled a number of topics, from domestic violence to the AIDS epidemic.
Guy talked about her career, but she also told the students about the importance of focus, a strong work ethic and maintaining a positive self-image.
Dayna Hayman, a freshman from Washington D.C., said she watched re-runs of “A Different World” growing up and appreciated Guy’s candor. “I feel like she was very real with the audience,” Hayman said.
Guy encouraged students to be positive and to uplift one another. “Who does it hurt if you hate on somebody who’s smart or great or beautiful? You,” she said.
“It’s much better to love the people around you and to applaud who they are and what they can do. It’s much better for you.”
By Carson Capshaw-Mack/Winston-Salem Journal