Spike Lee has a bone to pick with Bill Cosby.
The Oscar-winning film director in a tweet said the incarcerated comic “jacked” his idea for the film School Daze for the popular TV series A Different World. Both projects are based on the HBCU experience.
— Spike Lee (@SpikeLeeJoint) April 4, 2020
Lee’s film began streaming on Netflix this week. The Brooklyn native also tweeted additional background info about the movie.
Cosby created and executive produced A Different World, the popular spin-off of The Cosby Show, which followed Denise Huxtable’s (played by Lisa Bonet) life at Hillman College, a fictional HBCU.
The series premiered in September 1987, while School Daze premiered in February 1988, though filming was completed before that of A Different World, according to Lee.
Some followers agreed with Lee’s assessment.
He sterilized and sanitized your movie. No two ways about it. And I loved A Different World, but damn three main cast members were in the film!
— Seejay (@ManusBaldSpot) April 4, 2020
While others found both Lee’s film and Cosby’s series inspirational.
School Daze and A Different World is the reason why I wanted to go to a HBCU. If I had the money I would have went to Morehouse, but I ultimately chose going to Southern University of Baton Rouge.
— 50400Degreez (@jee443117) April 4, 2020
School Daze was inspired by Lee’s time as an undergraduate at Morehouse College. The movie cast included Lee himself, Lawrence Fishburne, Bill Nunn and Tisha Campbell, tackling issues such as pledging in Black fraternities and sororities, along with colorism.
A Different World starred Bonet, Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy. The sitcom tackled issues of apartheid, the Los Angeles Riots and interracial dating. It lasted six seasons.