Real Housewives of Atlanta alum Kandi Burruss is the next Bravolebrity to receive her own spinoff. Kandi & The Gang follows the employees who work for her and her husband Todd Tucker at their Old Lady Gang restaurant in Atlanta.
Initially, the idea of another Bravo spinoff that features the staff at a popular eatery run by a Real Housewife drew comparisons to Vanderpump Rules. Lisa Vanderpump’s hit spinoff has been featured on Bravo for nine seasons and has a solid fanbase for the cast.
However, as it turns out, Kandi & the Gang is bringing something new to the table that Vanderpump Rules has been criticized for lacking in its LGBTQIA+ representation.
During a recent chat with Page Six, Kandi opened up about realizing this exciting difference that is evidently missing from the otherwise similar show.
RHOA alum Kandi Burruss reveals what sets Kandi & The Gang apart from Vanderpump Rules
While speaking to the outlet, Kandi shared, “It is so funny because it wasn’t even intentional.”
“It just so happened that they’re really cool people and then cameras came,” Kandi said in praise of her LGBTQIA+ staff members. “You just get to see what we already have going on. Our restaurant has always been inclusive.”
Although Kandi noted she’s been to Lisa’s restaurants before and enjoyed her experience, she’s thrilled to see where her staff are able to set themselves apart from any comparisons and provide some much needed representation for the community.
“When I realized that we did something that was different than anybody else was when the commercial [for ‘Kandi & the Gang] came out,” she said. “I saw people in the comments saying, ‘Wow, this is dope that they are showing this and I feel included now.’ I was like, ‘Wow,’”
“We all exist, right? But we’re not necessarily all represented when it comes to television. So come on to Kandi & The Gang. We’re going to make everybody feel right at home.”
Vanderpump Rules has notably missed the mark on LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC representation
Kandi’s acknowledgement of the new representation her spinoff will bring to Bravo viewers also highlighted previous issues seen within the Vanderpump Rules world. Although Kandi admitted she’s never watched an episode of VPR, longtime viewers are no strangers to the criticism the show received over its lack of diversity.
Lisa Vanderpump has continuously been a solid advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community over the years, however, the show has not reflected her allyship.
Over its nine seasons, Vanderpump Rules has only featured one BIPOC cast member, Faith Stowers. And in 2020, the show experienced serious backlash after allegations surfaced of racist actions against Faith by other cast members.
The allegations received such backlash during the time of the Black Lives Matter movement that several of VPR’s stars were fired as a result. The list included Stassi Schroeder, Kristen Doute, Jax Taylor, and Brittany Cartwright.
As for Kandi’s celebration of her staff diversity, she credits them for helping build her Old Lady Gang brand and making the restaurant great.
“A lot of people say, ‘Oh, they don’t really show a lot of black men [on reality TV],'” Kandi noted. “You have a lot of black men [on our show]. You have some straight, some that are gay and then some that are masculine-gay and then some that are not as masculine, which is cool because I think so many people will feel represented, who haven’t really been represented before.”
She elaborated, “There’s always the stereotypes that you see. But to be able to see it on television where it’s not a stereotype, it just is what it is, I think it’s really cool.”
Kandi & the Gang premieres Sunday March 6 at 9/8c on Bravo.