One of the cornerstones of the iconic sitcom A Different World was the love story between Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy) and Dwayne Cleofis Wayne (Kadeem Hardison).
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In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Guy and Harrison reflected on the impact of their iconic characters’ romantic journey as well as where they think their characters would be in modern-day times.
“It’s boy meets girl, girl’s not interested in boy, boy’s not interested in girl. Then the writers came up with some great idea to put boy and girl together, and then we ended up married and happily ever after,” Hardison said regarding Dwayne and Whitley’s arc.
A spoiled Southern belle, the character of Whitley Gilbert was known for her bougie personality and taste for the finer things in life.
“I realized that Whitley becomes another kind of character when she’s with him,” Guy shared, reflecting on the characters’ relationship. “Dwayne brought out her vulnerability, which she was never comfortable with. She always had to think she was in control.”
As fans know, Whitley eventually falls for Dwayne, a character from a less affluent background. Guy further reflected the love story between Whitley and Dwayne wasn’t a matter of race as it was a matter of class.
“I don’t think I looked at our love story as a Black love story. It just seemed like a story that people can go through,” Guy said. “People that keep missing each other and then somehow find a way back and then split again. I think at the age that our characters were, you always think there may be something else. That there may be something better. And then we both had familial pressures too because we were in different classes. I don’t think it mattered to us as much as it did to our moms.”
On where they’d be today, Hardison said he think “they’d still be kicking it,” but Guy says they would have gone through a midlife crisis.
She explained, “She may say, ‘This is the only man that I’ve ever known. I want to explore the world.’ Whereas Dwayne is more, ‘I’m finally where we’re stable, our kids raised, we’re in a good place.’ And just how we used to do on the show; when somebody is just in another lane and we’re missing each other, we need to intersect.”
“I kind of think…because Whitley still is a couple of years older than Dwayne and he’s the only man she’s ever loved…this is what happens to us when our kids leave us,” she continued. “We start looking at ourselves like, ‘OK, now what do I do?’ And so, I think it would make for an interesting exploration, and I have written a pilot for that…about how I think we would look 40 years later.”