A small college in Terrell, Texas was announced as the grand prize winner of Ford’s Ultimate Homecoming Takeover. Southwestern Christian College (SWCC), a campus of just 125 students, beat out other HBCUs across the country and received a $100,000 scholarship donation presented by the stars of the iconic television show A Different World!
According to Ebony, Ford’s Drive 2 Greatness contest served as a forum to spotlight the company’s commitment to higher education and the growth of African-American students and HBCUs. During the homecoming festivities, attendees were able to test drive F-150 XLT and Limited Ford models. For each test drive, Ford donated $20 to the Tom Joyner Foundation to help support HBCUs.
A Different World‘s Jasmine Guy (Whitley), Kadeem Hardison (Dwayne), Cree Summer (Freddie) and Darryl Bell (Ron) along with Ford’s Multicultural Communications Manager, Dee Guerrero, proudly awarded the grand prize scholarship to SWCC Chairman of the Board Dr. John Dansby. They even participated in a panel discussion about the importance of HBCUs and the impact the show had on black culture.
“It’s imperative that we know our history and that we teach our history,” Jasmine Guy, who plays southern belle Whitley Gilbert, tells xoNecole. “I don’t think we can afford to wait for other people to teach us our history. I know that HBCUs will focus on not just the American story about the African Americans and Native American story and the truth about how this country was founded and why things are the way they are and why we’re still fighting for certain things. If we’re ignorant of where we came from, we’re not going to be able to grow.”
Guy also spoke about the show’s diversity and how each character pretty much represents different parts of being Black.
“I loved the diversity of the cast,” she says. “It’s very hard to represent everything about Black people in one person. We had different classes, different colorings, different backgrounds, different aspirations and that’s one thing I loved about A Different World. It showed the true spirit about what being Black is, and that it is diverse within itself.”
Darryl Bell also noted that the different generations on the show provided a different point of view for each topic.
“What was also great was that you saw different generations,” he said. “From the youngsters [characters] like Bumper Robinson [and] Patrick Malone, all the way to [actors] Glynn Turman, [who played Col. Taylor] and Lou Myers, who played Mr. Gaines, there was always a different point of view. So no matter what topic was discussed, it wasn’t a monolithic response; it was something that was always challenging and relevant, it was important and we managed to be funny while we did it! That’s why I think it lasted so long and stayed evergreen.”