We are truly starting the year off on the right foot of representation!
Not only do we have two Black superheroes with Black Panther and Black Lightning, Living Single on Hulu, as well as Taraji P. Henson as ass-kicking Proud Mary, but now we have Yara Shahidi, Chloe and Halle serving a full dose of Black girl magic in the Grown-ish.
While watching the first few episodes of Grown-ish, we realized something: it’s like a modern, non-HBCU version of A Different World. The nostalgia we feel by watching it is undeniable. Let us show you:
1. They are both spin-offs that follow the daughter to college
We already know that Grown-ish is a spin-off for Black-ish, but you may have forgotten that A Different World was a spin-off of The Cosby Show. Denise (Lisa Bonet) was originally the main focus of the series in season 1 because Lisa Bonet became pregnant in real life.
2. The title sequences/theme songs have a similar message
While the openings of the two series are very different because of the technology of today, we can’t help but feel like the opening for Grown-ish was made to feel both modern and retro. The song says “watch out world, I’m grown now” which is a similar message to the overall theme A Different World. The song years from now will definitely provoke feelings of nostalgia of today’s generation, similar to the way ADW does for those growing up in the 90’s.
Here are the intros for A Different World:
Now, here is the title sequence for Grown-ish:
3. Both daughters come from big families with affluent parents
Denise was a Huxtable, which meant that she came from a family of Black doctors and lawyers. Whitley also obviously comes from an affluent family. Zoey Johnson has a doctor and an advertising executive as parents and is a part of the upper middle class. College serves to act as a culture shock for both of the main characters.
4. The infamous girl gang is at the forefront of character development
Who doesn’t dream of having a strong group of girlfriends to hang out with? This is definitely an endearing aspect of both series, as each member of the squad adds a different and purposeful personality component of the team. We are excited though for the men lead characters in both series.
5. There is an underlying mission to get the generation interested in attending college
When A Different World was on air, it without a doubt inspired Black people to attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). With an entrepreneurial spirit currently leading the nation, many people are questioning the current educational system in place.
We are sure that some high schools are going to watch Grown-ish and decide to apply to college…even if it is just for the “college experience”.
6. They touch on controversial yet necessary topics
In the first episode of Grown-ish, we felt like we got slapped by every branch in the tree of political correctness and social justice. As was true for many shows in the 80s and 90s, most episodes of A Different World had a lesson to take away. The series didn’t stray away from difficult topics, such as AIDS, interracial relationships, politics in South Africa.