How Leva Bonaparte Changed The Show’s Dynamics

Bravo’s hit series Southern Charm was in desperate need of a shake-up due to its problematic cast. That’s where Leva Bonaparte comes in.

Recently, Southern Charm found itself in a crisis. The show still hadn’t fully dealt with the fallout from Thomas Ravenel’s sexual assault allegations. The Black Lives Matter protests then led Bravo to take down racially insensitive episodes. A number of cast members left, including Cameran Eubanks, who was essentially the show’s lead.

Much like Vanderpump Rules, some wondered if Southern Charm should even go on. But while Vanderpump’s future is still uncertain, Bravo went ahead with production on a new Southern Charm season. However, major changes were obviously needed. Enter new cast member Leva Bonaparte. Leva, who is Persian and was born in India, was already closely connected to the cast and made appearances in previous seasons. By officially joining the show, she adds an overdue perspective as the first person of color in the main cast. Additionally, the wife and mother’s strong personality ensures that season seven will not just be business as usual.

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Related: Southern Charm: The Main Cast, Ranked By Intelligence

In an interview with Decider, Craig Conover, who has known Leva for a decade and owns a restaurant with her and her husband, praised her refreshing transparency and honesty. Craig said Leva did a “really good job” at being a new cast member. He added, “All that consisted of was being herself and saying what you would usually say even if the cameras weren’t there. You’re not performing.” The Sewing Down South designer continued, “She’s got a lot of opinions and isn’t scared to say them. It was a fun surprise, to be around someone who was speaking their mind.” Leva was especially upfront about Kathryn Dennis, who turned out to be the reason Cameran left the show. The 29 year old was behind the rumors Cameran’s husband cheated with a make-up artist. Viewers were thrilled to see Leva confront the redhead over this and actually hold her accountable.

Leva Bonparte Kathryn Dennis Southern Charm Cast

Over previous seasons, a redemption narrative was built around Kathryn. She appeared to mature, and cast members like Cameran went from attacking to embracing her. Thomas’ abusive behavior, and the way it affected his much-younger ex, became undeniable. When he started dating Ashley Jacobs, her cruelty toward Kathryn also made the latter more sympathetic. But her recent actions undid this goodwill. Starting the rumor was solely a way to get back at Cameran, despite the two appearing to make amends in recent years. She also made headlines for harassing activist Mika Gadsden with almost 30 racist messages, including a monkey emoji. The racist rant and emoji use, plus Kathryn’s unconvincing apology, was appalling. Another season that treated her as a hero would’ve been unacceptable. Instead, Leva will not be shying away from confronting her over these racist actions.

Leva’s perspective as a Persian woman is different and sorely needed amongst the otherwise entirely white, very privileged Southern Charm cast. She has already made it very clear she will take a stand against behaviors that were previously tolerated. Her existing relationship with the cast also gives her a better chance of actually getting through to them. Bravo viewers will no longer stand for shows ignoring issues of race and privilege. Hopefully, the network continues to add cast members like Leva, to ensure people are held accountable, and educational, challenging conversations actually happen.

Next: Southern Charm: Bravo Deletes Kathryn Dennis’s Plantation Scenes

Southern Charm airs Thursdays at 9 pm ET on Bravo.

Source: Decider

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