Connect with us


Debbie Allen Explains How Whoopi Goldberg Got Involved With ‘A Different World’ AIDS Episode



On Wednesday’s episode of The View, the Different World cast reunited alongside the series’ producer and director, Debbie Allen. But while speaking about the show’s guest stars, the spotlight shifted to Whoopi Goldberg, who was moderating the conversation alongside her The View co-stars Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines.

When asked by Haines what she remembered about working alongside Goldberg, Allen shared that the EGOT winner was the show’s “secret weapon” when it came to making its powerful season 4 episode about the AIDS epidemic, “If I Should Die Before I Wake.” 

Goldberg, fresh off her Oscar-winning performance in Ghost, made a cameo as a professor who assigns the students to write their own eulogies. Fellow guest star Tisha Campbell appeared as student Josie, who reveals during the assignment that she has AIDS. 

“She was someone I knew. We were friends. We all knew she was going to win that Oscar that year,” said Allen of Goldberg. “When we were the first network television show to address AIDS after Magic Johnson made his announcement, I had to do something.” 

Allen continued, “[Executive producer] Susan Fales and I, we put our heads together and I said, ‘We’ve got to get a big gun to make this happen’ and Whoopi, I called her, and she said, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ She was down.” 

The producer-director then explained that with Goldberg’s participation on the episode, it made it possible “to save millions of lives” by spreading awareness and it became the sitcom’s “highest-rated episode that year.” 

Goldberg said it was a “unique opportunity” to be part of a series that focused on an all-Black cast going to college and noted that “anytime Debbie asked me to do something, I just said yes.” 

A Different World premiered on 1987 as a spinoff of The Cosby Show. Allen, who like the characters of the show had attended a historically black college, was called in to use her creative input for season 2, to make the series more accurate. 

Continue Reading