Kadeem Hardison first fell into our hearts when he walked into our living room every week on the hit ’90’s show A Different World which was a spin-off from the hugely popular, The Cosby Show. He was the quirky-but-lovable nerd who was in love with the privileged southern bell, Whitley Gilbert. The chemistry of all the cast worked great together and the show became a runaway hit. It broke barriers as well.
A Different World was also the first American TV show to address AIDS. The AIDS episode is one of my favorites in the series. It featured Tisha Campbell as a student who has full-blown AIDS and also guest starred Whoopi Goldberg as a no-nonsense visiting professor who calls out students’ ignorance about the disease. This may seem like nothing now but in 1991, talking about AIDS on TV, especially on a sitcom, was taking a huge risk. They couldn’t even show a condom in a package, but they made it work–and it was powerful.
Hardison’s other credits include the TV movie “Life Is Not A Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story,” the films “White men Can’t Jump,” “The Sixth Man,” “Biker Boyz,” “Vampire In Brooklyn,” “Panther” and many others.
“I did the Cosby Show in it’s first season and they remembered me. They kept saying ‘we’re going to give you a job but you’re too old for Theo and too young for Denise.’ But then Dwayne came along and I got it.”
Now, at age 55, Hardison is a father, still acting and loving every minute of it.
On His Favorite Episode
“My favorite episode is easily ‘The Cat’s in the Cradle.’ We went to another school and we didn’t tell two sides of the story. It was a racially charged issue. They locked us up in jail with a white dude and we wanted to kill each other. That’s one of my favorites acting wise. It had comedy and drama. It gave me that feeling that I was doing more than doing sitcom stuff.”
“When people tell me they want to be an engineer because of my character, or someone tells me they…