The Ladies of A Different World: Where Are They Now?
A Different World, a spin off from the Cosby Show and one of the most popular shows in the 90’s was filled with a talented cast of which most gone on to have successful careers.
One of the reasons for the show’s popularity was the way the show shined a light on the Historical Black College culture. It was set at the fictitious Hillman college, and ran for six seasons from 1987 – 1993. It was originally supposed to focus on Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet) the oldest daughter of Bill and Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show.
The show quickly took on a life of it’s own as it rose to popularity by tackling social issues such as abuse, equal rights, and HIV/AIDS which was taboo at the time. Bonet ended her run on the spin off after the first season due to becoming pregnant with daughter Zoe Kravitz.
Where are they now?
Best known for her role as Denise Huxtable in The Cosby Show, which she reprised for one season on A Different World, Bonet has had roles alongside Will Smith in the film Enemy of the State and most recently, she played a drug-addicted and troubled girl in Showtime series Ray Donovan. She is currently married to Aquaman star, Jason Momoa.
Marisa Tomei has had a thriving career since her time on A Different World. She went on to win an Academy Award in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny, and she’s made numerous television appearances on hit TV shows such as Empire on Fox and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Charnele Brown played Kim Reese, the witty roommate of Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy), and on again off again girlfriend of Ron Johnson(Dwayne Wayne’s best friend). Charnele has since worked as a fashion designer, actress and producer. Her TV guest appearances include Living Single, Martin, and Girlfriends. Her film credits include City Girls and The Prank which she is listed as Co-Producer.
Dawn Lewis appeared in all six seasons of the series. Not only was she a leader on-screen playing Jaleesa, an older student at the college, but she was also significant off-screen co-writing the theme song for the show. After the series ended, Jaleesa went on to appear on Hanging With Mr. Cooper alongside Mark Curry, she performed in theater, and has voiced several animated characters including Storm in three X-Men Video Games, and Shokan (Sheeva) in Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm.
Most recently, she appeared in the Disney original movie Let It Shine, she voiced Grandma McStuffins in Disney Junior series Doc McStuffins, and The Chief on the netflix series, Carmen Sandiego.
Cree Summer career has thrived both onscreen and off-screen. Formerly known as Freddie, the student activist on A Different World, she’s been hugely successful in voice-over, with credits including the 1983 cartoon Inspector Gadget, Rugrats, and over 100 other characters. She penned a song on the soundtrack for the Queen Latifah produced film Just Wright, and released multiple singing albums. Her most recent role onscreen the role of Dr. Octavia Laurent on OWN Network’s Queen Sugar, Season 4.
Jada Pinkett Smith is another actress from the cast that has maintained a thriving career since the season ended. She appeared in a string of successful films including The Matrix Movies, Angel Has Fallen, Bad Moms, and Girls Trip. She also appeared in the self-produced show Hawthorne, and Gotham from 2014-2016.
In 2002, she also launched a heavy metal band called Wicked Wisdom, and she and her husband Will Smith launched their production company Westbrook in 2019. You can catch Jada on Facebook Watch for her talk show series Red Table Talk.