From the episode of TV One on One featuring Debbie Allen:
Cathy Hughes: I want to talk about all these various hats that you have worn and wear and do so well. A Different World, the TV series, did so much to glorify and showcase our young people in college life. I also read that when you took over producing and directing that you had a rule that there would be no hair weaves, no colored contact lenses, and no false eyelashes.
Debbie Allen: Or long nails, right. I stripped those girls down.
Cathy Hughes: You wanted them in their natural beauty.
Debbie Allen: Yeah, I wanted them to be natural. You know, I went to Howard University, honey. I was there when Angela Davis was walking with that beautiful, frizzy, beautiful mane of nappy beautiful hair. And I wanted this show to reflect the beauty of African-American women. And we had so many different kinds of women that were beautiful in many different ways. And they should allow that. Everybody shouldn't try to look the same. So I went in there and stripped them down, and the show became more real.
Cathy Hughes: And so popular. And it's also written that it helped increase black college enrollment, that black children saw the show and wanted to go to college for the first time.
Their conversation reminds of why I have never liked The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, or the skanky Bachelor Pad, a show that makes For the Love of Ray J look tasteful. Every woman (and most of the men) look like carbon copies of each other. It's not just that they are almost all white and between the ages of 21 and 35. Every woman on those shows look like they stepped off of the beauty pageant stage and on to Chris Harrison's television set. They seem less like human beings and more like characters from two of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone, original recipe: "Eye of the Beholder" and "Number 12 Looks Just Like You". Creepy.
If only black children, and other children, had Dwayne and Whitley and Ron and Kim and Freddie and Jaleesa to look up to today. Now they have Snooki, JWoww, and The Situation. It's a different world indeed.