When it comes to Vince and Tracy, since we’ve met them, they have had an issue with trying to move forward in a very specific way. With Tracy, her focus was breaking out of that reality TV person, coming off classy, and showing that show needs her more than she needs it. Thus making Vince expose what she looks like without her makeup and wig horrifying since another issue she has is control.
Think about it, in Reality TV, especially Tracy’s experience, she lacked control of her image, how she was perceived, and leaving that world allowed her a sense of autonomy. Also, it gave her a sense of anonymity. Making the fact she is now exposed horrifying since she now is recognizable wherever she goes.
Thing is, unlike before, when she might get recognized for a fight or drama, it is her cooking and being shown as real. Heck, one person jokes, while she is doing a cooking segment, she is having a Viola Davis strip down. Which, while hilarious, also reminds you how much people appreciate someone being real and raw in all forms and not just when one person is cursing out another for slighting them.
As for Vince? Well, you know how much he has been a purist by restricting himself to vinyl, right? So, a man who frequents the club, in secret, asks him to DJ for his kid’s Bat Mitzvah. An idea Vince isn’t sure of until his good friend Tracy tells him it is a good idea. Leading to, since Vince listens to Tracy and values her opinion, him not only making bank off one gig but getting offers for other gigs.
Leading to the moral of the story: If you are looking to monetize yourself or one of your skills, seek out the audience which comes naturally to you. Venturing out for those you have to convince your worth is not only going to become tiring and frustrating but a complete waste of your energy as you come to realize they may never appreciate you.
Not All Competitors Are Enemies: Veronica, Shelley
Veronica gets her first renters and approved to get people who receive section 8. With that, she decides to celebrate and, since Shelley is apparently keeping tabs, she congratulates Veronica. Now, before you think the congratulations is sarcastic or petty, it isn’t. If anything, Shelley is trying to make nice with her former supervisor, who she clearly saw as a mentor. Which seems to click with Veronica, and while that doesn’t mean she no longer sees Shelley as a rival, she at least may stop calling her derogatory names – for now.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Willy, Kristi, Deon, Layne
With Deon getting passed over for a promotion, naturally, he vents to Layne. However, being that Layne is in a privileged position, she advocates him quitting and starting his own thing. That doesn’t settle well in Deon’s mind, at first, so he lashes out, and it leads to their first fight as a couple. Something uncomfortable for them both, since their emotions are involved in ways it wasn’t before.
Yet, mirroring Vince and Tracy, while Deon doesn’t initially click with what Layne is saying, next thing we know he is either physically or mentally slapping everyone and quitting. So, like most men, it seems, while he won’t admit he was wrong in the moment, give him some time, after his ego calms down, and he’ll see you were right.
Though the same might also apply to women like Kristi. For, after Willy was assaulted and taken away, Layne does find him, without additional PTSD to deal with, and he is practicing yoga with a group. But, with him still very much being homeless, Layne decides to take Veronica’s advice and seek out a loophole so those like Kristi can’t come after him. So, she sets him up behind the shop, notes he is an employee, and when Kristi comes about, with her guilt, she confronts her.
But, from what it seems, Kristi genuinely just wants to have her business be a success and holds no ill will towards Willy. Hence, after being told he is doing yoga and is in the back, while there is initial apprehension, she does talk to him and even gifts him a yoga mat. Making it seem, while she probably hasn’t changed, guilt will at least force her to hide her true feelings.
Oh, the wonders of tolerance.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
Anyone surprised, after Layne hanging out with all those homeless people, she wasn’t trying to convince Veronica to give them a chance?
The Ride or Die 5
Generally speaking, one of the things you have to appreciate about the Ride or Die 5 is that they can challenge each other to do better, and it doesn’t lead to too many blow-ups. For in just this season alone, outside of the Vince x Veronica reveal, everything has been pretty chill. But, perhaps the most consistent example of how they believe each one can teach one is Vince and Tracy.
Which is an important relationship for it sets the example for all others and shows how Bigger approaches friendship in a way I wouldn’t say most other shows do. In other programs, friendships are usually shown by playing out these big elaborate stories of how they met, got each other out of trouble, and other grandeur moments. With Bigger, the focus is on the little things and helping each other grow as people.
That’s how Vince found a way to stay true to himself but build up his profile. He knew Tracy understood the system enough to make it work for her, so he listened to her advice, took what he could, and look at him now. Then, in return, Vince pushed Tracy not to masquerade as someone put together and borderline bougie. That’s not her. She is the homegirl from Brooklyn, now living in the ATL, who is beautiful with or without doing the most.
And one last thing, you have to also appreciate whether it is the ladies amongst each other, or when socializing with the men in the group, how things can be intimate without being sexual. Like, Vince and Tracy could easily be a thing, but that’s because we’re conditioned to think two heterosexual people can’t be that close and something not happen – see Layne and Deon. Yet, whether something happens or not, there is a chemistry that conveys the kind of closeness we don’t see most characters appreciate until they are about to hit rock bottom.
So, again, you have to really love how this show allows this group to sidestep many tropes and just show the beauty of having a diverse friend group featuring people of different talents and perspectives.
The Homeless Are People Too
While Layne is looking for Willy, she interacts with the local homeless population, and though I doubt we’re going to see most of those people again, it is always nice to show people beyond the middle class. I say that because, often, shows don’t give much focus to the working class, poor, or homeless. Heck, even when we see people who are said to be that, they have that IG filter of presenting themselves as doing well, despite the struggle.
Making just a glimpse of how the other side lives, rather than focus on Layne and her friends, who all seem to be doing decent for themselves, brings about a representation rarely seen or spoken on. Especially as there is this push for showing Black folk doing well, being socially mobile, and often leaving the less fortunate behind in being seen. At least in most new series.
Veronica Realizing Shelley Isn’t Trying To Outdo Her, Just Take What She Learned From Her
I believe that the purpose of being anyone’s assistant is to learn from them and, as a parent with a child, do better and go beyond. However, as Veronica showed, there is a crabs in a barrel issue within the Black community. Not with every last person, for lord knows most of my successes usually came in the form of a Black woman, sometimes Black men as well, giving me a chance. But, in Veronica’s situation, with it not being clear if she is new money or not, there seems to be that threat like she and Shelley are in the rap game, and there could only be one. If not, she is the old thing, and the new girl is going to take her market share.
Thing is, Shelley and Veronica seek out two different sets of real estate. Much less, lest we forget, Veronica has been in this game for a good decade. So, more than likely, Shelley probably chose commercial real estate because she saw a market not being tapped by Veronica and while it would have been cool to partner with Veronica, let’s be real, Veronica is a type-A personality who seems like she’d rather be the boss, driving the ship solo, than partner up. So Shelley took the opportunity staring her in the face that Veronica has long ignored.
Deon Venturing Out
I don’t think you can undervalue the importance of having friends who have done things you have been scared to do or think wouldn’t work out if you did it. We often speak about representation in media, but the kind which really matters is the tangible kind which comes in the form of people you actually know, can just call up, and don’t have to go to a Q&A, summit, or buy a ticket to see.
Again, look at Vince with Tracy, her social media knowledge provided him with an accessible mentor who could put him on. And now with Deon, he has Layne who, yeah, may have had some help making it on her own, but let’s not forget she had to sacrifice her dad’s car and take a risk to get to own her shop. Never mind there is the issue of dealing with Kristi, Liberty, making the shop profitable yet still having a life.
Though the show keeps things light, let’s not play running your own business isn’t a huge headache. But, here is hoping with Layne acting as inspiration, Deon will step into his own and make a business where promotions are based on merit, there is more than enough success to spread around, and leaders are diverse. I mean, it is like how the saying goes, “What you seek, sometimes you must create,” which is a paraphrase, likely of Toni Morrison, but you get the idea.