Few people have made quite an impression with an accessory as Dwayne Wayne on the ’80s and ’90s college sitcom, A Different World. The character’s key traits were his math skills, his on-and-off relationship with Whitley Gilbert (Jasmine Guy), and, of course, the flip-up sunglasses that became his trademark. Today, actor Kadeem Hardison has long ago hung up those glasses—though he did try on a pair in a recent interview—but he is still acting and has appeared on other popular TV shows. Read on to find out about Hardison’s life after Hillman College and to learn about his current relationships with his A Different World co-stars.
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While Hardison will always be connected to Dwayne Wayne, who he played for six seasons on the Cosby Show spinoff, he’s taken on some other big parts in the time since. From 2015 to 2018, he starred alongside Zendaya as her character’s father on the Disney Channel show K.C. Undercover. In 2019, he had a recurring role on the Showtime series Black Monday. And in 2020, he was on the Netflix series Teenage Bounty Hunters. Earlier this year, he had a guest role on Grown-ish, which, like A Different World, is also a college-focused spinoff of a family series.
Hardison has a 25-year-old daughter, Sophia Hardison, with his ex-wife, singer Chanté Moore, and he sometimes posts about her on his Instagram. For her birthday in September 2021, he wrote, “where did the time go. still the best thing i ever did and it keeps getting better. appee burfdae @sopha.doll i love love love u!”
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The cast of A Different World reunited in 2021 for E!’s Reunion Road Trip: It’s a Different World special. On the show, the cast reminisced about their time making the sitcom and the influence that it had on viewers and on the landscape of television. They also participated in a live Twitter watch party in February 2022.
Hardison has gotten together with Guy for joint interviews over the years. The two appeared together on The Real in 2018 where they talked about Hardison having a crush on her when they first met. “I can admit easily that I had a crush on Jasmine the minute I saw her,” Hardison said.
Hardison is close friends with Darryl Bell, who played Ron on A Different World.
“He and I have always, from the day we met, argued over our knowledge of sports,” Hardison told Essence. “There aren’t too many days that go by when him and I don’t talk. Me and Cree [Summer], we still talk. I see Lisa [Bonet] every now and then. She lives close by, we’re still neighbors.”
In 2021, Vanity Fair published an oral history of A Different World, and Hardison shared the way his character, who became an engineer, still lives on today.
“I live for the moments at the gas station when a grandmother tells me her baby wanted to be an engineer because of me,” the actor said.
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