There are a few of us that remember what it was like to have African-Americans on television living a true college experience. Drama free! If you will notice on my Facebook page I have made my cover art a picture taken of me a while back with Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder. I posted this remembering the conversation we had about the changes in black media in terms what images are available to black youth and brown youth. Most of you are probably old enough to remember a show called, “A Different World”. Those of you that aren’t familiar with it, the show was a spinoff of the forever popular creation, “The Cosby Show”. During our discussion we spoke about today’s lack of examples in media of black youth being successful in higher education and how “A Different World”, served that purpose in our lives.
In my opinion, “A Different World” was truly one of the most relevant shows in the history of media, let alone black media. It’s depiction of the life of students at the fictitious Hillman College was one of the rare times we as teens were able to see examples of being young, cool, black, and educated on television. Not only did it show us as thinkers with real issues, but the range of who we truly are. You were exposed to the excellence of a Dwayne Wayne, who became a computer genius, but also of Ron Johnson whose focus was solely on girls and trying to take advantage of anyone he could to make money. Where is this generation’s, “A Different World?”
On the rare occasion that we see black college students on television today they are depicted as drama seeking reality stars. Where is the education? I think what has happened to our students in college is the same thing that has happened in hip-hop. To coin the phrase of Chuck-D, we have been boxed into becoming a “one trick image”. Guns, money, drugs, and bling. As you digest the words in this post I would like to leave you with one more question. What are the fruits of what our youth have been exposed to?
Help me bring this culture back. Recently I was turned on to a site that actually sells Hillman College clothing. Theres no doubt one of my next purchases will be a Hillman College Sweatshirt. I can’t wait until the first time I am asked the question, “Where is Hillman College?”
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