The term "ride or die" has taken on different meanings over the years but at its core, it's defined as someone who sticks by their partner through thick and thin, regardless of what that unwavering loyalty may cost them in the end. We've seen this with Elena (Nina Dobrev) on The Vampire Diaries, literally putting her vampire beau Damon (Ian Somerhalder) first on numerous occasions even if that meant sacrificing herself or her relationship with her friends. And despite Lucious' (Terrence Howard) many wrongdoings on Empire, including having several of their close friends killed, Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) not only agreed to start over with him but even renewed their wedding vows.
While these ladies have rightfully earned the moniker by virtue of sticking by their boo through the good and the downright awful, Power creator Courtney Kept insists that contrary to popular belief, Tasha St. Patrick (Naturi Naughton) does not belong in that exclusive club. "When people say Tasha's ride or die I'm always like, 'You're misunderstanding the show.' Tasha's down for her kids, she's not down for [Ghost]," Kemp told TV Guide.
It's true, Tasha has stuck by her husband Ghost (Omari Hardwick) through his not-so-secret affair with Angela (Lela Loren), but her reluctance to leave him has had more to do with her survival and keeping the family together than an overwhelming desire to stand by her man like it's an Unbreakable Vow. Let's think back to Season 1 when Ghost said he wanted to go legit and Tasha immediately shut that down, insisting that he remain deep in the drug game. She knew that his dirty money is what kept their bills paid and she made sure that her life remained secure and lavish, his personal happiness be damned.
From the start, Tasha has always prioritized herself and her kids over her relationship with Ghost. After discovering that Ghost was hooking up with Angela, she didn't all of a sudden sew a funeral veil and wander aimlessly through the forest mourning the death of their marriage. No, she went out and got her own side piece, and even used Ghost's affair with his prosecutor boo to their benefit. She's a boss bitch, after all, not Ghost's bitch.
But Tasha isn't perfect and has had to do a bit of growing up, gradually walking back her initial view that keeping Ghost in the drug game was the best thing for their family. Starting out with the idealistic view that running a drug empire was something worth aspiring to, it wasn't until Ghost got popped for Greg's (Andy Bean) murder at the end of Season 3 that she began to realize being in the business of selling narcotics could actually cost her everything.
"Her world is very small at the start of the show. Her world is like you sell drugs, you make a lot of money, this is funding our lifestyle, this is good. She only starts to see what Ghost said about [ending up either dead or in jail] being a possibility as time [passes]," Kemp explained.
That sentiment is hitting closer to home in Season 5 now that Ray Ray's murder is under investigation and their son Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) happens to be the culprit. The estranged couple will need to work together in order to keep him out of jail and Tasha has even turned to Angela for help. Although Tasha is willing to do just about anything for her kids, it's a safe bet to say she probably wouldn't do the same for Ghost.
Angela, on the other hand, has already proven she'll do whatever it takes to keep Ghost a free man and according to Kemp, is actually Ghost's ride-or-die woman. "Angela blew up her whole career for [Ghost in Season 4] to save him from going to jail," she said. "She's the one who's been down for him only. Tasha is like, 'You left me? Cool, I'm out.'"
Let's review: Angela has lied to federal prosecutors, tampered with evidence and even risked her reputation in order to protect Ghost, almost losing her career in the process. And while Tasha has found love in other places, Angela has stayed pretty much #TeamGhost throughout the show, only briefly rekindling things with Greg — who she dated before Ghost — when she and Ghost were on the outs.
But just because Angela is all about Ghost, that's doesn't mean you should limit her to just that relationship. Referencing the biblical story of Eve being born from Adam's rib, Kemp says both Angela and Tasha stand on their own as fully-realized individuals and shouldn't be defined by the labels placed on them. "These women are actually characters in full. They're human beings in full. They're not Adam's rib," she added.
Power airs Sundays at 9/8c on Starz.