Who Is 'BAPs' Riccarda Lacey? The Star & Creator Can Save the Show
When it premiered on July 23, Lifetime's latest reality show BAPs received bad reviews and low ratings for its overreliance on stereotypes, but co-creator and star Riccarda Lacey is committed to making the show the best it can be. While some of the other stars like Kendrick and Rai Rai Evans seem right out of the reality TV playbook, already starting screaming matches and sowing discord between the more mild mannered cast members, Lacey is pulling double duty in front of and behind the cameras. And she is not about to let her brainchild go quietly into the night.
Lacey is the latest in a bunch of reality producers and stars that mine their family and friends for TV show concepts. Married to Medicine 's Mariah Huq is one, and Little Women: LA 's Terra Jole is another. These women choose to put themselves on reality TV in order to raise awareness for a community they belong to, be it wives of doctors, little people, or affluent African-Americans. Unfortunately for Lacey, Married To Medicine and Little Women: LA are hits, while BAPs is struggling, largely because what should be the core audience — her fellow black professionals — are insulted by the Bad Girls Club stench coming off of the trailers.
If you check Lacey's Twitter, it's full of people who both love and hate BAPs. To the fans, she is gracious and thankful, but to the haters, she engages them by asking respectfully what they don't like about the show and how they think it could improve. Many don't respond, but those who do usually come away newly interested in checking out the show.
It's this attitude that will be the only thing to save BAPs. Not many reality TV producers put their own lives out there for audiences to judge, or even seem to have that deep of a connection with the material they put on the screen. And Lacey is an actual entertainment professional, too — before creating and shooting BAPs, she worked for CBS and Asylum Entertainment in development. And since BAPs, she's worked for Bravo on The People's Couch.
Strangely enough, even though that show is incredibly boring, it might hold to key to improving BAPs. While nothing really happens on The People's Couch, the show is edited into rhythms that make the nameless characters seem likable. It's a masterclass in making something out of nothing. BAPs has something at its core — the exploration of a black subculture that's usually ignored — but it needs to break away from the same conflicts that plague every single other reality series and find its voice. And if anyone can do it, it's Riccarda Lacey… hopefully she won't be too late.
Image: Richard Knapp/Lifetime