Why We Still Love The Ultimate Bougie Princess Whitley Gilbert.

Kendall Rivers
6 min readMay 17, 2023
Jasmine Guy as Whitley Gilbert.

We all remember Whitley Gilbert. The designer outfits, the hilariously politically incorrect sayings, the spoiled, bougie attitude, and especially that classic over the top southern accent. These are all the things that made Whitley Gilbert an iconic and lovable tv character that we all still love to this day. Whitley was far from perfect, which made her both relatable and very funny. She wasn’t always likable and she wasn’t always right, but she was always a funny person with a heart of gold underneath. She may not have been the original leading lady of A Different World, but the show certainly benefited so much from her becoming so. Let’s face it, Whitley Gilbert and Jasmine Guy’s iconic portrayal was the show. All of Whitley’s admirable qualities and her flaws are why we still love this ultimate bougie princess.

Whitley Started Off As The Mean Girl But Soon Became The Girl We Rooted For.

When the show started back in 1987 it was Denise Huxtable who was at the center of the series. A Different World was a spin off of The Cosby Show so naturally with such major success the show could produce a spin off. The original concept was Denise Huxtable’s adventures at Hillman college, but after Lisa Bonet got pregnant Cosby brought her back to his show and Debbie Allen was enlisted to fix the show. She did that and more with bringing an authenticity to black college campus life that wasn’t there before and reshaping the cast. Another big shift was Jasmine Guy taking center stage as the show’s new lead and that was one of the very best things to come out of the show. Whitley becoming the central character led to great character development. Over the course of six seasons Whitley went from the stuck up, self absorbed, childish, spoiled rich brat with no friends to a much more lovable, independent, compassionate young woman with ambitions, plenty of close friends and a loving boyfriend\husband…. and who still managed to be lovably stuck up and childish on occasion. Everyone loves a redemption story and Whitley’s is one of the greatest ever developed in a sitcom or any tv show.

I want to particularly highlight the scene where Whitley talked to Gina about the abuse she was suffering from her boyfriend. This kind of scene really resonates because it shows the ultimate character development of Whitley Gilbert. You could never imagine the Whitley Gilbert of the earlier seasons having this conversation with Gina or with anyone for that matter. Not in a billion years. This was a Whitley who had grown far more mature and empathetic to where she was able to try to guide a younger friend who needed some much needed love and advice. Jasmine Guy and Ajai Sanders knocked that scene out of the park.

Her One Liners and Sayings Are Hilarious and Iconic.

There may be no one else in television that has ever had as sharp a tongue as Ms. Whitley Gilbert. The writers seemed to love giving her some of the most outrageously funny, thoughtless, politically incorrect and straight up honest lines imagionable. It’s a wonder why there aren’t any Whitley T-Shirts with her immortal sayings printed on them.

She Always Did What Was Right When It Counted And Was Proud of Who She Was and Where She Came From.

While Whitley may have been a very self centered invididual, when it came down to it she always did what was right in the end. Like the time she handled a racist store employee who treated her disrespectfully, or the time she had something stolen from her by a young kid who she ended up still helping because she knew he needed guidance. She was also very proud of her heritage. She may have been born wealthy and privleged, but Whitley never denied her blackness nor was afraid to express pride in it.

She Always Looked Good.

Jasmine Guy was simply one of the sexiest women on the planet in the 1990s and with the fancy wardrobe Whitley Gilbert got to wear her beauty was intensified. Whitley was just one fine chick that had both men and women floored.

She’s The Best Wife a Man Could Ask For.

When it comes to greatest tv girlfriends\wives ever Whitley Gilbert is right up there with Gina Waters\Payne, Alice Kramden etc. The relationship between Whitley and Dwayne was and still is iconic. As one of tv’s greatest examples of black love, Whitley and Dwayne showed the ups and downs of a love by two opposites. But despite their many differences these two were made for each other and helped each other grow. Many women want a Dwayne Wayne while us fellas definitely want us a Whitley Gilbert. Yeah, she has her flaws, but she more than makes up for it with her die hard loyalty and devotion to her man. Whitley was the type of woman who would see your potential and pressure you to live up to it. Dwayne had no better ally when he lost out on the job he always wanted than Whitley, who assured him that no matter what she believed in him. If that ain’t wifey material idk what is.

Whitley Gilbert was and still is a truly iconic character because of the excellent writing and the remarkable performance of Jasmine Guy. Everything about Whitley good or bad is why we still love this ultimate bougie princess after all these years. Till next time, folks!

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Kendall Rivers

Kendall is a screenwriter who’s a huge fan of classic tv and movies. He enjoys creating good stories and characters. https://www.facebook.com/kendall.rivers.3