When I first started tuning into Ride with Norman Reedus, I’ll admit it had much to do — OK, everything to do — with my long-held fandom for The Walking Dead actor, who’d won me over many moons ago in the unforgettably gritty cult flick, Boondock Saints.
However, I’ve been impressed from the onset of Reedus’ new AMC docu-series with everything from the cinematography to the way the series shines a light on salt-of-the-earth people from all over the country.
Over the last four weeks, another vein of reverence has begun pulsing for Reedus thanks to a thematic pattern that has emerged: women. Strong, quirky, fierce and entirely badass women.
Every single week, we’ve been introduced to empowered females along the way. In the premiere, it was the Babes Ride Out biker group. And this week? Well, this week’s episode may be the most compelling proof yet that Reedus is a total feminist.
The episode starts with Reedus reuniting with his rad friend Brent Hinds, a guitarist for the metal band Mastodon. The very first stop they make is to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican food restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, founded and run by female entrepreneurs: Taco Sisters.
After eating their fill of the Wake and Bake breakfast burritos, the guys hop on their Triumph Tiger XCx’es and head out toward their ultimate destination, New Orleans. Along the way, they meet some colorful characters, including a legendary crawfisherman, and a bona fide alligator whisperer.
But time and again, it becomes evident that it is equally important to Reedus to call attention to the unique stories of women, as it is to explore those of men like the ones mentioned above.
While in Baton Rouge, they decide to jump on a riverboat casino. There, Reedus makes a beeline for a blackjack table with a female dealer dubbed “The Terminator.” After winning a few hands, Reedus tells her “You’re lovely,” before the pair walk away.
Following a quick pop-in to Abracadabra Tattoo when they first arrive in New Orleans (matching bro “Lemmy” tattoos — check!), Reedus and Hinds visit a voodoo high priestess by the name of Sallie Ann Glassman. She guides them through a ceremony in honor of the legendary female voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau, which deeply affects Hinds.
And, finally, the guys get to know the members of Caramel Curves — New Orleans’ first all-women’s motorcycle club, and one that is fierce AF at that.
Riding the kind of bikes that would make any gearhead drool, these ladies spin tires and tear up the highways dressed to the nines: six-inch heels, hot-pink faux-hawked helmets, headpieces, leather skirts. Sitting atop custom-painted motorcycles, the Caramel Curves define — as suggested by one of their nicknames — showstoppers.
They are, in a word, inimitable.
As Reedus points out, they’re breaking boundaries in motorcycle culture. Not only are they the first all-female biker group in the area, but they are also comprised entirely of Black-American women. They are wholly and beautifully unafraid to just be themselves in a world that all too often tries to silence women of color. They are shattering gender norms and re-conceptualizing social zeitgeists.
These women, y’all. They’re amazing, and I have Ride with Norman Reedus to thank for this much needed injection of fem-spiration into my life.
Given it is becoming a weekly routine — Reedus introducing me to aspirational women the world over — I think there’s little doubt that the TWD actor cares deeply about and wants to further the female narrative… as if we needed another reason to love him.