Spotlight: Twirl on You Crazy Diamond

You guys, it fucking pains me to type these words. I’ve been holding off on writing about Kenya for a while now – not because of my normal procrastination – but because I wanted this piece to end with her victory lap as she returned for another season against all odds. Sadly, it seems even Kenya Moore can push Bravo too far. Fingers crossed as soon as I hit post that a new report comes out and a peach is officially in her hand.

Mixed review debut:

RHOA was in a period of flux when Kenya twirled onto the scene. Nene was in Hollywood, Sheree was freshly fired, and Kim storms off five episodes into the season. Kenya, along with Porsha, brought a new vibe to the show and I wasn’t sold right away. The drama seemed particularly manufactured and Kenya didn’t seem genuine. There’s a reason seasons 5-6 are my least favourite era of Atlanta and part of it was that Kenya had yet to click for me. Her “Gone with the Wind fabulous” fight with Porsha – arguably her most famous moment – was pretty lame. Atlanta gives us amazing fights and drama and her twirl moment was more style than substance. Still, it made Kenya Moore a household name, and brought us an eventual music video. I respect her dedication to her brand as well and came to love her using “twirl” for everyfuckingthing.

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Behind the peach:

People get exhausted trying to figure me out, and I just let them.

There are parts of Kenya that certainly are enigmatic, but the above tagline is not referring to any them. Kenya is a painfully obvious person to psychoanalyze. Above all else, she is a desperate attention-seeker. Even among the Housewives as a whole she stands out, and that is as big of a group of thirsty narcissists I’ve ever seen. Her antics in the beginning were a bit grating, but as time wore on I grew to anticipate and love each and every display. From the reunion props, to the costumes, I was all aboard Kenya’s unending need to be the centre of attention. No lie, I fucking *die* everytime I see Kenya in that Grinch costume. She committed so hard and most people at the party barely dressed up and all of a sudden this insane green woman is popping up into frame. Yes, yes, yes. It is never not hilarious. There’s also a recurring motif with Kenya, where she likes to dramatically throw people out of whatever party she is hosting to make a big scene. Off the top of my head I can think of two times she kicked Porsha out of her events (the black icon one, and Moore Manor housewarming) and back in Miami when she made a big deal about removing Tammy Mccall Brownings nephew from their house. I mean, maybe she wasn’t wrong on that one because then Tammy got knocked the fuck out. The existence of  the gem soundbyte “CALL A AMBULANCE” is directly thanks to one Ms. Kenya Moore.

Solo storylines:

Now tying into Kenya’s aforementioned need for attention is her main storyline that will be a part of her entire run on RHOA. Kenya has had a rough go of it with her family. Her mother has refused to acknowledge her for her entire life. This obviously manifests in her need to be noticed, along with her persistent desire to build her own family. I always believed her about having a terrible time growing up with her mother, but it wasn’t until about season 10 when I realized the extent of just how fucked up the situation really was. Rather than her mother being estranged from her entire family, she was actually present at family events all throughout Kenya’s life and just refused to speak or acknowledge her. More than anything this made me “WTF” at the rest of her family who raised her and continued to interact with her twisted mom for some reason. Kenya maybe a cartoonish savant sent from another dimension to create a new reality on my screen, but she’s capable of gaining my empathy.

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Love & marriage:

Kenya Moore is a pioneer. Atlanta above all other franchises focuses on the couple as a unit. Rather than playing second fiddle to their partners, the men are more often than not at the forefront alongside them. Aside from my personal feelings on this aspect of ATL, it does put the single ladies in a position of disadvantage when every trip is a couples trip. Worry not though, the solution is to just hire a boyfriend! Kenya brought out Walter first, an allegedly gay tow-truck tycoon who could barely pretend to like Kenya while she was putting on the pantomime of demanding her propose to her. The Real Housewives series has a long and storied history across all franchises of women fronting about all facets of their lives, be it their wealth or crumbling relationships, but Kenya’s version is something so extreme and unique it stands apart. After Walter’s contract was up, she followed up with her anonymous African Prince who nobody had ever seen and she would not name and definitely, absolutely did exist. Matt was a weird turn to the macabre, what with the violence and stalking but it was compelling viewing. Finally, we end up where we are today: Kenya secretly marrying a mystery man and apparently finally getting knocked up at the fertile age of 47. Marc refused to film for the majority of the season and she wouldn’t even share his name for weeks, leading to the hilarious gag of Flat Marc. Tragically, snubbing Bravo on her wedding didn’t work out like it did for Lu, proving once again that women really can’t have both love and a career. Single ladies Porsha and Cynthia follow in her footsteps with their princes and boyfriends of dubious intentions/orientations, but they cannot compare to the OG.

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Feuds:

With a disposition as abrasive as Kenya’s it’s not surprising she’s scrapped with just about everyone in the cast. She started off with a bang versus Porsha for committing the unforgivable sin of referring her to Miss America instead of Miss USA. I can’t remember much of their petty feud beyond traded insults and reunion physical assault. While in theory I do not advocate violence, nobody has ever begged to be dragged as much as Kenya did with that megaphone. Kenya’s meatiest feud is undoubtedly with Phaedra. While they began as business partners on the donkey booty workout DVD, when Phaedra tried to cut her out she made her own competing stallion booty workout. From here things unravel: Apollo then claims that Kenya has been texting him offering up blowjobs. Kenya had been openly flirting with Apollo for a while and it didn’t seem too out of character and she got dragged for it…but surprise! Years later Apollo admits he made it all up. The damage was already done, unfortunately. We did get this moment out of it, so I’m on board with another of Phaedra’s eventually exposed evil plots.

Mansion warfare:

Noticed a significant feud missing above? That’s because it’s my absolute favourite beef: Kenya vs. Sheree. The Phaedra vs. Kenya feud ends up kind of dark and icky and Porsha is too much of a non-entity to get invested in, but Kenya vs. Sheree is pure petty. A light and breezy shadefest that always delivered. I don’t remember if there was some drama beforehand, but as I recall it Kenya literally purchased a bare bones, partially constructed foreclosure solely so that she could finish Moore Manor before Chateau Sheree. From that point on it was war of the houses, as the ladies both worked to complete them and tossed off hilarious insults like Kenya’s “Chateau She _____” series of talking heads and “bitch twirl on some motherfucking baseboards.

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Strategic genius:

Perhaps I have only portrayed Kenya as a scripted, dramatic narcissist but she’s super smart, too. Her talking heads are among the funniest, her clapbacks are witty and well-timed, and she knows how to take down an enemy. My absolute favourite example, and the moment I realized that I indeed loved Kenya, was back in season 6’s “Dropping the Ball” when she was at odds with Nene. I think it was some leftover drama from the notorious pajama party fight, but whatever it was Kenya was trying to make amends for, she did it perfectly. See, she decided to make nice with Nene by throwing a masquerade ball to support Nene’s favourite charity in her honour. Brilliantly, she realizes this would be a much better olive branch extension if it were kept a surprise. Naturally, Nene finds out about the scheme just once it’s too late to back out so she shows up with the stankest attitude known to man. Kenya calls her up in front of the crowd and has her address them unprepared and she makes a complete ass of herself. Honestly, it’s one of the most genius housewives moves I’ve ever seen played out. She trapped Nene – either she went up there and made an ass of herself by being publicly salty as she did, or she sucked it up and pretended she was in on it. Either way – Kenya wins.

In the end:

Hopefully this isn’t the last of Mrs. Daly on our screens. Her sporadic presence in season 10 of RHOA was really to its detriment. Her firing seemed surely inevitable. And then, mere minutes into the reunion she drops the bombshell that she is finally pregnant at 47 thanks to good old IVF. In her final moments she managed to create a signature shady Kenya moment – because faking a pregnancy really is a whole new way to level up her game. Rumours of “friend of” contracts and VH1 spinoffs are abound, but even if my love Kenya never holds a peach again, she’ll always have a piece of my heart.

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3 thoughts on “Spotlight: Twirl on You Crazy Diamond

  1. YES! I have such an insane fixation with Kenya Moore. She’s easily the poster child of RHOA for me and I genuinely think she had the potential to steal the franchise spotlight from NeNe (and NeNe did too based on her baseless hatred of Kenya after she came off of a successful freshman season). I definitely respect the girl’s hustle because she had a ROUGH first two seasons. The Apollo homewrecking accusations. The entire Walter saga. The entire cast hating her fucking guts. She werked this show and eventually went from being a ridiculed outcast to literally running her own alliance of gorgeous supermodel minions in S7; finally breaking NeNe Leakes and forcing her to quit <3

    I will say that it still surprises me to this day that Kim Fields (and Sheree, but you touched on that) was one of the few people that actually got Kenya visibly flustered. It was the only time I've ever actively disliked the Kenya Moore experience because it was finally being aimed at someone who didn't deserve it. I'm pretty sure Kim said two condescending comments and Kenya combated by…physically pulling her chair and starting gay rumors about her husband? It was icky and gross, but 90% of the time she saves her exhausting antics on horrible people that deserve to be tortured day-in and day-out by Kenya's Kackle.

    But Kenya is so unbelievably charismatic, charming, intelligent, and misunderstood and I am genuinely so happy that it looks like she's finally gotten the life that she's been manifesting on television for the past six years. Even if she did get fired, there's no doubt in my mind that she'll return in a couple years once the RHOA producers realize that we don't give a shit about Porsha.

    1. I agree about her being the star of ATL. Nene, even in the early seasons before she was over it, was never likeable to me. Kim was fucking gold but popped out 300 kids and really spiraled downwards. And bless Sheree but she’s too much of a mess to ever be the star. That really just leaves Kenya, and I am all aboard obviously. She really got the format of the show and after working out the kinks early in her run, became a reality tv savant. Pure entertainment.

      Kim Fields vs. Kenya was fucking hilarious to me. Of course Kenya was a total ass to her, but Kim Fields was kind of condescending and snooty and it was uproarious to see this relatively normal, bland human face off against literal cartoon Kenya Moore. Remember that the story was Kim was brought onto the show by Kenya? Then like 10 episodes later she’s pulling her chair and and kekeing about her fruity husband with Sheree. I mean, super homophobic, of course but when we’re dealing with Housewives I kind of temper my expectations otherwise I couldn’t enjoy this show.

      A triumphant return post baby delivery could be amazing, but I don’t have any faith in the producers of ATL right now. With losing Phaedra, Sheree, and Kenya the past two seasons I’m not so sure how things are going to pan out. Unfortunately the ratings are so good they don’t really feel motivated to switch things up the way they need to be.

    2. “…once the RHOA producers realize that we don’t give a shit about Porsha.” What perfection is this last line? Can’t believe Porsha has seen off the likes of KZB, Phaedra and Kenya, and yet her dumb thug self remains employed.

      The producers have made one mis-step after another, and it reeks of favoritism behind-the-scenes. If you put the EP of Don’t Be Tardy as one of the main producers on RHOA, then *of course* he’s going to focus on Lip Succubus all the time. Of course Kim, and by extension this guy, are going to make it their mission to drive Kenya off the show.

      IMO, Kenya earned her peach for S11 with her participation in the Epic Takedown of Kim at reunion. Not to mention Marc finally signed a contract to appear on RHOA. As if that wasn’t enough, did you see her effortless takedown of Michael Rappaport on WWHL a few months’ back? I thought that was enough to save her peach (see: https://youtu.be/pErPter3HvQ).

      Now we are stuck watching nasally Eva Marcille drone on about her baby & wedding. This should have been Kenya’s SL (the baby part, at least). Why should I care about a drippy newbie and her wedding to some local politico? We have no history with this bore. Kenya has everything to make this season happen and turn around the declining fortunes of this show. I truly don’t understand the decision to choose anybody but Drama Queen Kenya. What’s next — Shamea gets a peach? This makes no business sense, Bravo!

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