Before there was an Olivia Pope or Mary Jane, there was Whitley Gilbert. Freddie Brooks. Kimberly Reese. Jaleesa Vinson.
I long for the leading ladies of NBC's iconic sitcom, "A Different World" when I think about what's on TV these days.
Sure, we can all sit around on Thursday nights and live Tweet and Facebook status update the play-by-play of "Scandal", but it's not the same as back in the day when Thursday night's "Must See TV" meant chilling with the fam watching "The Cosby Show" followed by "A Different World".
Nostalgia aside, those shows entertained AND educated. Hillman College and its students may all be fictional, but the impact of what they represented to a generation of young people is very real.
Better than reality TV, "A Different World" was possibilities TV. The legacy of that show matters and thankfully, it mattered enough to someone willing to step out on faith to preserve it.
HillmanBookstore.com carries a line of tees, hoodies and sweatshirts bearing the Hillman College name. I found this gem of a site after seeing the sweatshirt featured as one of Nikia Jefferson's, aka "ChiTown Fashionista", Keep.com picks.
I almost lost my mind! Everything on that site would have been in a shopping cart, but the way my checking account is set up...
After visiting the NBC Studios gift shop and seeing merchandise for classic shows like "Saved by the Bell" and "Knight Rider", yet NONE for "The Cosby Show" or "A Different World", the creator of HillmanBookstore.com writes in the Our Story section of the site,
"I was beyond pissed, and decided to do something because I feel like “we” matter, and deserve to be represented. --- And that is how we are here… It's bigger than just a TV show..."
Yes it is.
Get into this before I "la, la, la, wait til I get my money right!" like Kanye and buy up everything!