5 things we hope to see from yara shahidi's "different world"
It was announced yesterday that talks of a Blackish spin-off starring Yara Shahidi is in the works. The show will be centered around Shahidi's character, Zoey, going off to college in true Lisa Bonet/A Different World fashion. Below are some of the things we hope producers Kenya Barris and Larry Wilmore incorporate.
ZOEY WILL DITCH THE IVY LEAGUE FOR HILLMAN OR ART SCHOOL
Although Bow and Tracee Ellis Ross are both Brown University's class of 1994, Zoey didn't seem too enthused on a recent campus visit. We are hoping that Blackish can gain the licenses to incorporate our beloved Hillman college as an HBCU of choice. It would be cool to see how much has changed in this day and age, and maybe even some surprise guests from our favorite A Different World characters Freddie, Kim, D'Wayne and Whitley Wayne. If not, it would be great to see Zoey's character turn down the Ivy League for either Parsons The New School of Design in New York or the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles as a non-traditional approach.
BGLOS ARE INTRODUCED TO PRIME TIME TELEVISION
In today's day and age, speaking about D9 culture on television can definitely be taboo whereas in 90s television, when Black media was geared towards Black people, Greek life thrived in both traditional and non-traditional letters. For instance, in Sister Sister's Greek to Me episode, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. are being forced upon Tia by her parents. While there are performances by Delta Sigma Theta and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., there are many fictitious fraternities that appear in the episode because the honor of wearing letters is exclusive to members. Tamera's boyfriend, Jordan, ends up pledging the fictional Gamma Psi— seemingly inspired by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.— with Brian McKnight as Dean of his line. A Different World also takes a similar approach with Whitley as a member of Alpha Delta Rho— a culmination of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Since Blackish generates the interest of many different audiences, an episode like this could seek to educate the masses on the importance of the Divine 9 organizations, what sets them apart from other Greek lettered organizations, and their cultural significance. Of course, the word pledge will have to be left in the 90s, as they are all non-hazing fraternities/sororities.
AN EPISODE DEDICATED TO MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND CAMPUS RESOURCES
The topic of mental health has existed largely in the media since popularized images of Kid Cudi and Kanye West checking into rehab facilities this past year. While breaking the stigma within the Black community is extremely vital, it is also important to discuss a largely overlooked demographic of depressives: college students. Juggling exams, work study, campus orgs, and your personal life can be difficult. Oftentimes there are resources on campus that students aren't aware of or don't utilize for fear of scrutinization. Blackish could be the first show to note that students pay for mental health services in their tuition anyway, so why not utilize the "free" therapy sessions? They could also tackle conversations about how difficult it can be when either you or a friend has to take a sabbatical— whether forced or due to personal reasons.
INTERNSHIP MAINTENANCE AS A COMMON THEME
In the episode Nothing but Nepotism , Zoey lands a fellowship at Teen Vogue due to her father's connections. In terms of resources and accessibility, it's not just about who you know, but she was also able to get the gig because her parents were in the know about the opportunity. For many first first generation college students, navigating college is a task in itself. Many have no idea that you are supposed to seek an internship your freshman year, let alone how to land one— putting their well-to-do counterparts ahead of the curve. If Zoey studies fashion in college, there should be promo for sites like freefashioninternships.com, Velvet Jobs, and the BRAG (Black Retail Action Group) internship.
A STUDY ABROAD ACCEPTANCE
I would personally love to see a spike in students of color studying abroad due to seeing Yara Shahidi's character doing so in Blackish. After the widely acclaimed success we're expecting from the show, producers could use one of the later seasons to depict Zoey studying at Central Saint Martins in London, IFA in Paris, or even Hong Kong. I would even settle for a two-part episode of Zoey tackling Paris Fashion Week.
What are some of the things you hope to see in the new Blackish spinoff?