In Defense Of Whitley Gilbert And Dwayne Wayne’s Relationship

A Different World is hands down my favorite television show of all time.

I still have the homework assignment from my fourth grade English class where I waxed poetic about graduating from high school and attending Hillman College. Dwayne Wayne was my first crush. I don’t know if it was his goofy sense of humor, that 800 on the math SAT, the way he showed up for his friends, his work ethic, or that time he got in a fight with those PWI derelicts up the street.

Either way, Dwayne has been bae — the brilliant Brooklyn native with just enough corny and the right amount of grit in fresh Jordans and the flyest leather jackets.

Imagine my alarm and dismay when my best friend sent me a link to a think piece that accused my beloved of being “selfish,” “mean” and “manipulative.” The writer claimed that Dwayne wasn’t the right man for his eventual wife Whitley Gilbert and that their love was less than ideal. Issa nah for me. You don’t come for Dwayne, or Dwayne and Whitley’s love on my watch.

While Dwayne was not above reproach, he was Whitley’s perfect partner. Their story also affords us some useful insight into the complex ways that individuals and relationships evolve during the undergraduate years and the formative stages of adulting. I have receipts.

Tykeia N. Robinson PhD

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