Grown-Ish: The Modern “A Different World”


Photos with the cast of 2018 Grown-Fish cast. The cast of A Modern World cast T.V. shows.

Kayla Mitchell , Staff Writer

The 90s, a generation of style, music, and most importantly entertainment. 90s sitcoms often become the topic of conversation when discussing this culturally revolutionary era.

“A Different World,” a spin-off of ¨The Cosby Show”, was most popular for bringing awareness to many issues such as violence, money regulation, friendship, race, relationships, and more. They made sure to educate everyone on the ups and downs of African American culture. Denise Huxtable, the main character of the show, tries to navigate through life as a freshman at Hillman College, a historically black college (HBCU).

¨It wasn’t seen in other shows, the most constant showing of representation was usually negative, they only used to display our downfalls, on the flip side it just skipped the struggle and representation,¨ Christopher Jackson, a freshman English teacher at Da Vinci Communications High School (DVC), expressed. Jackson went on to say that he believes that the show represented ¨Growing pains through the lives of black students.¨

Today, the iconic show is constantly being compared to Freeform’s new show, ¨Grown-ish¨, starring Yara Shahidi, who played Zoey Johnson in ABC’s “Black-ish”. The reality that both shows are spin-offs of two very successful shows, ¨The Cosby Show¨ and ¨Black-ish¨ is a huge component of these comparisons.

The storyline between both spin-offs is one of the main factors that make the shows similar. Both Denise and Zoe are on a mission to try to figure out their identities being female and African American in college.

Kai Morris, a senior at DVC, stated, “Even though it’s just acting and they’re not actually in college, well they might be outside of acting but, it’s kinda just a way for younger black people to look up and say, ‘oh I can do this, Oh I can go to college, Oh I can be successful.”

Grown-ish, mainly focuses on the reality that Zoey is now grown..ish and that the decisions she makes in college will potentially affect her life in the future.

A great example of this is in the second episode of the show where Zoey finds herself worn out, causing her inability to write her essays. Because of this, she makes the decision to try out an Adderall to help her stay awake in order to finish her work. She realizes that the drug didn’t help her succeed, in reality, it set her back.

Problems like that are the reason why people watch the show. It is also the reason why so many people think that the shows are so comparable.

In “A Different World”, Denise Huxtable goes through many similar problems like this, in the first season of the show, Denise struggles with keeping a budget. She has a lot of trouble with the responsibility of being in charge of her own money, spending it on unnecessary items. In order to pay her dorm fees, she needs the money that she doesn’t have so she runs to her father for help.

A common theme that has been shown throughout these shows is the reality of being an independent African American woman in college. Even though Denise attends an HBCU and Zoey attends a more traditional college, both experiences are very similar.

Ideas usually repeat themselves throughout generations, so the idea of these two shows being similar isn’t an out of the ordinary concept. Because “A Different World” opened up that door, many other shows like “Grown-ish” will be able to continue that legacy.