Once upon a time, entertainment lawyer by day and mortician by night Phaedra Parks introduced two short people with big heads: Kandi Burruss and Todd Tucker. It was a love they both stumbled upon; the multi-Grammy-winning reality star and the television producer from New York would go from colleagues to partners after the fated South Africa trip in season four. We’ve seen them battle Mama Joyce’s mouth and sex dungeon allegations while expanding their family with Ace, now 6 years old, and almost 2-year-old Blaze, thanks to Atlanta’s resident fairy godmother Dr. Jackie. Kandi and Todd have been building a big-headed empire that may be small but keeps on growing (their heads aren’t even big, but I’ll never be over Mama Joyce saying it).
Kandi’s empire actually isn’t small at all. As the shady producers pointed out, Ms. Burruss entered her union with Todd with a lengthy portfolio of businesses and real estate, including Bedroom Kandi, the Kandi Factory, and Tag’s boutique. Meanwhile, Todd had … a condo in New Jersey. Together, they have the OLG and Blaze Steak & Seafood restaurants, plus whatever real estate they acquired as a couple. Kandi’s money from music alone creates a sizable nest egg for her beneficiaries, and combined with the money she’s amassed in her marriage, Riley, Blaze, and Ace are set. But, things become a bit more complicated when factoring in Todd’s daughter Kaela and the couples differing parenting styles.
Tonight, Kandi and Todd sit with Riley and Kaela to discuss their future trusts. Like Riley and Kaela pointed out, Todd is more of a “tough love” parent who consistently makes Kaela work to sustain herself, whereas Kandi spends money on Riley with little abandon. Kandi even says that if Todd were in complete control of the finances after her passing, she wouldn’t fully trust him to take care of Riley in the way she would herself, hurting Todd’s feelings so much that he leaves the room.
For a lot of men, especially Black men, success means financial stability and independence, everything revolving around money and legacy. Todd is no exception, and I’ve always felt the financial imbalance in his relationship with Kandi has made him feel a type of way, whether he admits to it or not. I don’t blame him; Mama Joyce drilled into his head for years that he’s not good enough for her daughter, and Marlo was just making jabs about Kandi dating below her tax bracket. I have a sweet spot for Todd because it’s obvious how much Kandi loves him, and he came into her life when she was questioning everything after her last engagement. No, Todd isn’t the richest — or tallest — but he had a nice job and manners. In this climate, it’s hard to find a man with both of those things. Not to be too “men’s lives matter” because who cares, but I’m sure he felt emasculated in some ways after going through the wringer on the show and dating someone whose daughter’s allowance is close to his net worth.
Todd’s irritation after his capacity as the executor of Kandi’s estate was questioned gives off the energy of a man whose ego is bruised and is scrambling to maintain dominance. I don’t think when Todd was younger he imagined his marriage as a business that he wasn’t fully in control of. We saw this with his reaction to the prenup when they first got married, and we see it now as Kandi is making life decisions. When the pair continue to discuss the estate planning, Todd concedes and tells Kandi that as long as she leaves detailed instructions in writing so the kids don’t even have to ask him any questions, he’ll be fine. I’m using “concede” loosely because I’m pretty sure that’s what Kandi would’ve done regardless, but men need their little wins to feel better, so we’ll let him have it.
The Burruss-Tucker clan also celebrates Ace’s sixth birthday tonight. I cannot believe he’s getting so big! It’s surreal seeing kids of the Housewives like Audriana Giudice and Ace literally grow from being fetuses to fully developed humans on the show. Kandi invited Ace’s cousins, as well as Kenya and Brooklyn, and Drew and her kids to soft launch Ace’s birthday before his official party. While Kandi, Kenya, and Drew celebrate, Ace, Marlo, Sanya, and Shereé congregate at the Le’Archive Showroom to catch up after the failed trip to Blue Ridge. Now that Sanya is next up to host, bringing the group to Jamacia, she’s doing her best to make sure the upcoming trip goes as smoothly as possible. Since she’s bringing Ross, Sanya makes it a point to let everyone have the option to bring a plus one, whoever that may be. She calls Kenya to remind her at least seventeen times that it’s a couples trip involving couples, where you can be a part of a couple. Actually, from the footage we see, she only emphasized the couples part twice, but Kenya obviously heard, “I hope your divorced, single ass brings someone so you’re not alone,” prompting her to swiftly hang up on Sanya. Marlo advises Sanya to just “kill her with kindness” as she does with Kenya (in her own mind).
Later, all the ladies convene at Sanya’s house to prepare for the Jamaica trip/surprise Shereé on her birthday. Drew not bringing Shereé a gift but offering a fun-filled rendition of Happy Birthday was pure second-season Housewife pettiness. Before the birthday girl comes, Sanya pulls Kenya to the side about being hung up on, firmly telling her she ain’t playing that. Kenya explains that she felt Sanya’s tone was condescending, which I’m calling projection due to Kenya’s hypersensitivity about her relationship status. And wasn’t Kenya the one complaining about not knowing it was a couples trip when they went to New York?
When Shereé arrives, they play around with a broken selfie machine and eat dry meat patties — with only dark meat — and sip twist-top wine, tarnishing Sanya’s reputation as a host. Never skipping a beat, Drew accuses Shereé of “throwing rocks and hiding her hands” regarding the situation with Fatum at Blue Ridge, defending her decision to throw a dog bone, reigniting Drew versus Shereé. Shereé starts throwing metaphorical tomatoes at Drew, who then makes a jab at Shereé’s age, which didn’t land for me because Shereé looks great.
Sanya snatches the reins back on her evening with a presentation of the rules for their trip. Rule one: water-friendly hair. Rule two: no standoffs. Rule three: absolutely no props (looking at you, Drew). And the saddest rule of all, number four: no weed, which I guess means we won’t be seeing Patricia, I mean Peter.
Peach Tea To-Go
• Cardi B’s house being a mile down the street from Kenya means we need to petition for a Cardi appearance, preferably in the form of a play date with Blaze, Brooklyn, Aniya, and Kulture.
• Thoughts of a Colored Man, the play Kandi was helping produce on Broadway, was shut down due to the wave of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. She’s extremely disappointed in having to close out the show, understandably so, as Kandi was able to create so many jobs for Black people in the theater. She mentioned the idea of producing another show and I hope she does; seeing her use her wealth and status in this way is inspiring.
• We get to add another name to the Rolodex of Housewife therapists with the addition of Dr. Tart. Marlo has a much-needed session (I hope she’s getting some off-camera, too) with the “Christian psychologist,” and I’m glad she’s getting the help she needs, but can someone tell her that part of raising teenagers is that they will act out? I think we’re all a bit over the storyline and just want the best for those boys.
• Thankfully the ball seems to be rolling on She by Shereé, but I’m not ready for Cairo to be modeling these joggers if they will include a “visible print line.”