After the movie Crazy Rich Asians opened up the world to never-seen-before luxury lifestyles of ultra-wealthy Asian Americans, Netflix hit reality series Bling Empire followed suit with its own version, chronicling the lives of a group of friends in Los Angeles. But while previous seasons of the show tended to place their casts’ gross materialism on a platter for viewers to devour with uncritical awe, season two features some important conversations about race and culture.
The show features Singapore billionaire Kane Lim, whose money comes from oil and Asian retail real estate; Christine Chiu, a plastic surgeon who’s also a descendant of the emperor during the Song Dynasty; Kelly Mi Li, an entrepreneur whose relationship with Power Rangers Mega Force actor Andrew Gray is creating drama; and DJ Kim Lee, whose father gave her a trust fund after she turned down a role in a film. The only cast member who’s not a part of this elite inner circle is model Kevin Kreider, but he tries to make his mark in the group by attempting sobriety and seeking out more information about his birth family.
While the gang compares blinged-out promise rings and private jet etiquette, there’s plenty of drama between the mothers in the group. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder if an Asian American cast debating heir-apparent status is really the narrative we need, especially as calls for inclusivity and representation are being heeded by those who are making history in other industries like medical, finance, tech, politics, and more.