When you say her name, most people remember her as Whitley Gilbert, the dainty, pretty southern belle on “A Different World,” but actress Jasmine Guy is much, much more than that. A professional dancer and choreographer, Guy is a triple threat that got her start performing in New York at Alvin Ailey. She went on to appear in films like Spike Lee’s “School Daze,” the TV series “Fame,” and even released her own self-titled R&B album in 1990.
Thirty-five years later after being Whitley, one of the biggest roles that Guy is most proud of now is that of mom to her daughter, Imani.
In an interview on Oprah Winfrey’s network, OWN, the 59-year-old Guy talks about raising her daughter, Imani, to have her own individuality. “I started to pray, ‘God, please just don’t let me get in the way of who she is supposed to be,'” Guy says.
On Her Career
“I kind of looked at life like graduating from high school. Once you did [one thing], you move to the next level — and that ain’t always the case,” Guy says in her recent interview for Oprah.com’s web series, “Who Am I.”
“My biggest lesson in my life has been learning how to live in between the gigs,” she tells Huffington Post. “I understand my own fragility, and I don’t take that for granted anymore.”
In addition to directing and producing some projects, Gilbert has also resurfaced on a new series set on a college campus, BET’s, The Quad. But her new character, Ella Grace, dean of the history department, is nothing like Ms. Gilbert.
“This woman is almost the antithesis of what Whitley would be 30 years later,” Guy said to the Undefeated. “This woman … brings home pieces from Peru … and an African tribe that she spent the week with. She’s … a grounded woman. She reminds me of a Charlayne Hunter-Gault. An Angela Davis, with her dress and her intelligence and her ability to speak out and stand up. An Alice Walker. And those are a lot of women that went through Spelman, like Pearl Cleage.”
On Her Health
For years rumors have been circulating that famed actress Jasmine Guy has been suffering from lupus. After years and years of allowing the rumors to fester, the “A Different World” actress finally decided to address them in a Facebook post:
“Had a great birthday,” she wrote according to RumorFix. “I DON’T HAVE LUPUS. NEVER DID. DONT WORRY! Bad rumor.”
It’s unclear where the nasty rumor began, but we’re glad to hear she’s okay. She wouldn’t be the first celebrity to fall victim to such rumors, nor will she be the last.
Now, on to Bill Cosby…