In this episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, “Ms. Parks Goes to Washington,” Phaedra heads to Washington, DC, for the anniversary of a historic event, Kim once again struggles when traveling with the ladies, and Cynthia and NeNe reunite.

Phaedra is preparing to travel to Washington, DC, for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. She wants her sons to know what happens when people join together in an effort to bring about social change. Phaedra’s also scheduled to meet with a few politicians in an attempt to shore up support for her organization, Save Our Sons.

NeNe Leaks Returns to RHOA >>>

Make Room for Daddy

Also coming along for the ride are Sheree and Kim since they too have sons. Phaedra invited Porsha, and I suspect it is just to educate the poor woman who shows shockingly little interest in civil rights of African-American history, given that her grandfather was Hosea Williams.

While packing, Phaedra gets a call from Apollo. Whatever the rumors may be regarding Phaedra not encouraging a relationship between Apollo and their sons, it’s obvious she is keeping him somewhat in the loop. Apollo knows that Ayden has been having some behavioral issues at school and gives his son a brief but stern lecture.

Phaedra is doing her best to co-parent but points out that there’s only so much Apollo can do since he’s incarcerated.

Under Construction

Kenya is back from her family reunion in Detroit, and she’s focusing on getting Moore Mansion completed. Her hopes of moving in any time soon are dashed when she sees that during her time away, not much, if anything, has been accomplished.

Cynthia stops by and is less than impressed and envisions Kenya sleeping on an air mattress and eating off a hot plate.

Talk turns to the reunion, and Kenya reports that she and her father are closer than ever. But when Cynthia asks about Kenya’s mother, Kenya recounts how her mother refused to come to the door to speak to her when she unexpectedly dropped by.

Cynthia is heartbroken for Kenya, and hearing about Kenya’s experience reminds her of the breakdown NeNe had discussing her own relationship with her mother during the season 7 reunion.

Kenya hasn’t spoken with her Aunt Lori since returning to Atlanta, and she’s worried the tension between them could fracture the relationship. But Kenya is upset that Lori left the reunion to be with Kenya’s mother and hasn’t really had Kenya’s back through all of her mama drama.

Unsuitable for Children

The ladies make it to DC, and Phaedra wastes no time getting down to business. She’s got a meeting scheduled with Frederica Wilson, a member of the Democratic party and the US House of Representatives.

Congresswoman Wilson is a bit eccentric — she’s got a hat fetish — and when she greets Phaedra and company, she’s sporting a red-sequined cowboy hat. Wilson has her own mentoring program she established in 1993 called the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Program. According to the organization’s website, the program “teaches young boys about healthy living, responsibility and respect, and how to attain their future goals.”

Phaedra can’t wait to pick Wilson’s brain because her foundation is patterned after the Congresswoman’s. It’s times like this when Housewives redeems itself for all the less than stellar behavior it often promotes. It’s great when the ladies shed light on a cause or organization and use their fame for the greater good and not just shameless self-promotion.

Wilson warns Phaedra that it takes courage to talk about African-American boys because “people really do not like African-American boys.” Cut to Kim Field’s oldest boy sitting nearby. Wilson also states that young black men are also stereotyped and people just don’t have high expectations.

The Congresswoman recalls a conversation she had with a young boy who asked where the jail for white people was located.

Kim decides this is the time to grab her boys and exit. Kim feels there were some concepts and ideas being discussed that she and her husband aren’t ready to expose their sons to. Kim thinks she needs to act as a bit more of a filter than Phaedra because Phaedra’s boys don’t have the same level of understanding as her 8-year-old son, Sebastian.

Phaedra doesn’t think she’s got the luxury of sugar-coating things for Dylan and Ayden, nor does she necessarily believe it’s the smartest thing to do.

One Door Closes

Kenya gets an unexpected visit from her Aunt Lori and cousin, Che. Things are tense, and you can just tell this confrontation isn’t going to go well.

Lori reiterates the fact that when it comes to Kenya and her mother, Lori, who is Kenya’s mother’s sister, has never wanted to be in the middle. And while Lori loves Kenya, she also loves her sister, Patricia. Lori feels Patricia had every right to give up her child after finding herself pregnant at a young age. Lori also feels that Kenya hasn’t taken the time to look at things from the other side.

Kenya swears she’s not judging her mother for choosing to give up her child. What Kenya has an issue with is the way Patricia treated her when Kenya did come back into her life. Apparently, the woman has said some ugly things, particularly to Kenya’s grandmother, the woman who raised her.

Kenya has also seen her mother at multiple family functions, and Patricia has refused to even speak to Kenya. In Patricia’s mind, Kenya doesn’t exist, and her mother’s side of the family has apparently condoned this dysfunctional behavior.

Lori argues that she’s not going to get into a pissing contest over it but tells Kenya that enough is enough. This causes Kenya to bring up Lori leaving the reunion early.

Lori makes no apologies for putting her sister first. Lori thinks Kenya was out of line to just show up after years of no contact and start pounding on her mother’s door. Lori points out that Patricia doesn’t bother Kenya. Uh, yeah, now the dysfunctional stuff Kenya has been talking about becomes more clear.

Kenya argues that all she wanted to do was have a conversation, and her cousin suggests that maybe Kenya could have picked up the phone first. Sure, but that doesn’t make for nearly as good television.

This is some messy family business, and it’s not going to get sorted out between commercial breaks. Lori just thinks it’s time for Kenya to let go, and Kenya assures her aunt that after what happened in Detroit, it’s done. She got her closure.

It’s a bad situation, but Lori makes it clear that she loves Kenya. Che says that if Patricia didn’t want to mother Kenya, that’s her missed opportunity. Things end with a group hug, and it looks like the mommy dearest chapter of Kenya’s life could finally be behind her.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Does Kenya Confront Her Mother at the Family Reunion? >>>

Kim Bails — Again

After meeting with Congresswoman Wilson, it’s time for the group to go to a luncheon. Phaedra’s got some more networking and schmoozing to do. There’s just one problem: Kim’s son, Sebastian, is dunzo. He’s bored and disinterested, which isn’t shocking considering he’s being dragged around doing stuff most adults would dread.

Kim has to excuse herself from a photo op when her youngest starts to cry, and I’m beginning to wonder if Kim will ever manage to have an enjoyable trip with these ladies.

Unlike Phaedra, Kim doesn’t travel with a team of helpers, including a nanny. She’s a hands-on mom all the way, and she’s having to deal with tired, hungry kids.

Sheree isn’t super sympathetic about Kim’s childcare woes. She goes back out to the car to check on Kim and questions if she plans to come back inside. Sheree thinks it’s a bit rude to check out of the event that Phaedra has gone to so much trouble to organize. Sheree is a mother of three, but she doesn’t think that’s a good enough excuse to shut the whole world out.

The Old Lady Gang

Kandi and Todd are attending a big family meal, but they’ve got more than socializing on their agenda. Todd wants to float the idea of opening a family-style restaurant by Kandi’s aunts and mom. Since the menu would consist of a lot of their recipes, they kind of need to float it by the women before moving forward.

Todd and Kandi announce their plan, but Aunt Bertha has no intention of standing in front of a hot stove for strangers. Kandi explains that she and Todd don’t expect her relatives to work in the restaurant, just to lend their guidance when it comes to executing the recipes.

Mama Joyce is concerned about Kandi taking on even more work with the baby, but otherwise she’s down. The family needs some convincing, but at least Kandi and Todd didn’t get shot down right out of the gate.

A Million Men Minus One Tootie

The time has come for the big march, and Sheree’s son, Kairo, has flown in to participate. He’s a tall drink of water, and Porsha was, according to Phaedra, “slobberin’ like a baby on a pacifier.” Phaedra was drooling a little herself, commenting that at age 19, Kairo was “legal.” Shame, shame, we know your game, Phaedra.

Kim leaves before the festivities even begin, and Sheree doesn’t understand why Kim would travel all the way to DC and then skip out before the main event. Kim has a valid excuse: she’s hosting a charity event back in Atlanta. But it is unclear, given her lack of participation, why Kim made the trip at all.

Phaedra knows her boys are too young to fully grasp what’s going on, but she looks forward to the day when she can explain to them that they were a part of history.

In the midst of the endless stream of speakers, Porsha starts to get antsy. She’s all about power to the people, but she’s also about the power of a snack. Bless her heart; the woman tries.

Phaedra introduces the ladies to some mothers who lost their sons to tragedy, namely killed  by law enforcement. Sheree is glad her son is present to hear that it doesn’t matter where you come from; you can be judged just because of the color of your skin.

NeNe and Cynthia Rekindle Their Friendship

As powerful as this episode is, one event is likely to overshadow it all: the return of NeNe Leakes. Yep, she’s back. She and Cynthia have reconnected and have been rebuilding their friendship. They’ve been in touch via text, but Cynthia is preparing to see NeNe for the first time face-to-face.

NeNe took a little time out. She needed to rediscover her fabulosity, but she’s open to rekindling her “friendmance” with Cynthia. Hell, she might even unblock the supermodel on Twitter.

NeNe’s lips do purse and her eyes roll when Cynthia announces that Kenya is her girl. Cynthia backpedals quickly, stating that nobody else could compare to NeNe. That’s right, Cynthia. Don’t anger the beast.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta airs Sundays at 8pm on Bravo.

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.