The hit television sitcom “The Cosby Show” and its spin-off “A Different World” almost surely helped increase the amount of students attending historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
From the debut of “The Cosby Show in 1984 until the season finale of “A Different World” in 1993 black colleges attendance grew by 24 percent, according to ‘hip-hop president’ Dr. Walter Kimbrough. (44 percent better than all of higher education)
“There is no doubt that popular culture can influence growth,” said Kimbrough, the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Perhaps Hip-Hop Prez is right.
A Different World became the first situation comedy to address the looming of the Persian Gulf War in August 1990, when Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded and occupied Kuwait, and The Cosby Show stayed on the top of Nielsen ratings for five consecutive seasons.
Perhaps it is practical to argue that these two beloved sitcoms based on family life, in an African-American perspective, changed everything for future television sitcoms, and American culture and beliefs on the black family.
But what impact does the black family-education themed films like “Drumline,” starring actor Nick Cannon, who plays a young drummer from New York, and “Stomp the Yard,” featuring actress Meagan Good (and others), and depicts the somewhat fictional life of Black Greek Lettered Organizations have on today’s HBCU students?
Here is what some students say:
@HBCUBuzz stomp the yard made me wanna step, drumline made me wanna join the marching band
— OGX$ADBOI (@MVRVXL) June 12, 2014
@HBCUBuzz Drumline is probably the reason I stayed in band after middle school… Which eventually led to me attending PVAMU
— Stefanó Prugante (@Chappells_Show) June 12, 2014
@HBCUBuzz I believe it put a positive Light on the Whole HBCU experience as a whole.And it showed you can have fun and still graduate
— Black In Real LIFE (@RealCurtisJay) June 12, 2014
@HBCUBuzz showed positive black culture that you only find at hbcu’s I went to a PWI but stayed at hbcus bc I loved the culture
— school boy QUE (@freakdQWT_Reese) June 12, 2014
@HBCUBuzz for me it was being apart of history knowing that I can make a impact and leave a legacy at my HBCU. So far I’m doing just that!
— The Realist ☝️ (@JayBeEazy) June 12, 2014
@HBCUBuzz This was the first visual of an HBCU for me. To see a place made for us to succeed and have fun inspired me to attend Howard!
— La la la la (@KissMyJ_azz) June 12, 2014
Tommy Meade Jr. is HBCU Buzz’s Editor-in-chief. Follow him on Twitter.