Jasmine Guy Hopes Bill Cosby’s Contribution To HBCUs Lives On

Actress Jasmine Guy is hoping that Bill Cosby’s crimes don’t overshadow the work he has done with HBCUs. 

The “A Different World” star portrayed the role of Whitley Gilbert-Wayne in the “Cosby Show” spin-off. In the inaugural Cosby series, the main character, Denise Huxtable, whom Lisa Bonet played, attended the fictional HBCU Hillman College. This became the focal point of “A Different World.” Both shows shined a light on the importance of Black education. According to statistics published by Page Six, the shows led to a spike in HBCU enrollment. Years later, filmmaker Lena Waithe named her company “Hillman Grad,” paying homage to the television university. Guy hopes that attributes such as these will be noticed in the drama with the show’s creators. 

“I hope his work survives, the legacy of his work. The reason we’re on an HBCU campus is because of Cosby’s idea. He’s brilliant to set it that way because he’s sending out a message without saying it, or broadcasting it,” Guy shared, referring to the “A Different World” HBCU tour she and her castmates began in February.

Guy’s comments may ruffle some feathers, considering the high-profile cases against the comedian. In 2018, Cosby was found guilty of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He was ordered to serve three to ten years in prison for this. Though his conviction was overturned in 2021 due to a technicality, dozens of women have sued him for similar acts dating back to the 1970s. One of the latest lawsuits was filed in February 2024, with a woman accusing Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 1986 when she was a teenager. The 2022 docuseries “We Need to Talk About Cosby” highlighted several of these instances. 

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