Rapper Gucci Mane and his fiancée Keyshia Kao’ir wed on Oct. 17 in a $1.7 million wedding ceremony that was livestreamed on BET for all to see. The wedding, which is the first part of a ten-part series titled “The Mane Event” for BET, was fully covered by the network as stated in their contract. The wedding generated 1.2 million viewers, resulting in a huge ratings spike for the network. The series will continue as the newlywed Mane and Ka’oir venture to their honeymoon and then begin to navigate their lives together as a married couple.
The star-studded wedding had been a long-awaited affair. The couple has been together for seven years, after meeting on the set of one of Mane’s videos in 2010. Kao’ir remained Mane’s girlfriend while he was imprisoned for three years during 2013 to 2016. Mane proposed in Nov. 2016. They wed on Oct. 17 in remembrance of Mane’s late grandfather, whose street address was 1017. Many followed the couple on their journey, prompting BET to pick up the series. However, what many praised about their relationship was the “ride or die” aspect of it.
A “ride or die” is a partner, usually a woman, who sticks with their partner through any hardship, regardless of the mental or physical cost. Keyshia Ka’oir endured various hardships for the sake of their relationship only to be awarded with marriage and lavish treatment seven years later. This narrative is problematic in multiple ways: we never take Ka’oir’s own mental health into consideration, and we perpetuate the myth that it is somehow fine to treat someone poorly for an extended period of time as long as they are “rewarded” in the end.
What exacerbates the problem even further is that this is usually the type of Black relationship that we see. Happiness is predicated on some sort of extended hardship, and Black women are usually the ones who are put through these ordeals. The “ride or die” narrative teaches Black women that their happiness is second to their partners, and that happiness is to be earned and not inherently deserved. During Mane’s imprisonment, Kao’ir created two businesses which generated over $2 million for the couple, but still she is recognized only for tolerating Mane’s toxic behavior. In his recent autobiography Gucci Mane reminisces on how poorly he treated Kao’ir—verbally abusing her over the phone and being addicted to several substances among various other things. Kao’ir became Mane’s sole support system and was there during every stage of his imprisonment. Eventually, this made Gucci Mane a more successful person, but it came at a cost.
Gucci Mane has been extremely repentant of his old nature, and hopefully this serves to teach others to steer clear of these behaviors. While Mane is grateful that Keyshia Kao’ir was there for him, he recognizes that he should never have put her in that position in the first place. Part of the lavishness of the wedding is to make up for some of the past, which some viewers were sensitive to. Moving forward, we’ll have to see if Mane is truly repentant of his ways and maintains his current treatment towards Kao’ir.