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Review: ‘Born for Business’ Is a Satisfying Step Closer to Inclusion

Posted on September 01, 2021
Article written by
Bryce Parks

Peacock’s “Born for Business” docuseries is a step in the right direction insofar as presenting disabilities in an entertaining and honest way. The 10-episode season follows the lives of four entrepreneurs with disabilities as they run their small businesses.

As a person living with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), I was judging “Born for Business” with a high level of expectation. Oftentimes in television, people with disabilities are treated as underdogs facing overwhelming challenges in their everyday lives. At other times, their conditions are overly dramatized to draw emotion from viewers. After watching the docuseries, I felt a bit of relief with the way that the show tackled disabilities and was satisfied with the progression of the overall series.

Disabilities and Media

Most members of the disabled community seem to agree that we receive a woefully underwhelming amount of acknowledgment, representation, and inclusion. Whether in the media or just in everyday life, the struggles people with disabilities face in the “normal” world are rarely considered nor represented accurately.

I admit that it is unreasonable to expect others to truly comprehend the full range of our typical struggles. However, “Born for Business” star Chris Triebes — who is living with SMA and working in the music industry — raises a great point: We’re just trying to level the playing field. As one of the four people followed throughout the docuseries, Triebes has interesting perspectives on life itself. Leveling the playing field — rather than simply granting more opportunities to disabled people — is just one of the thought-provoking proposals he makes in the first episode.

Leveling the Playing Field

“Born for Business” takes a direct approach in helping audiences understand that having a disability is a major disadvantage during job hunts. During one of the more memorable scenes, entrepreneur Collette Divitto — who lives with Down syndrome — interviews a candidate with a disability for a position at her bakery. Soon into the interview, the candidate is almost pleading for the opportunity, talking about how difficult it is to find work while living with a disability. This exchange is a prime example of the importance of leveling the playing field.

Disabled Truths

Seeing vulnerable people expressing themselves is the highlight of the series in my eyes. Rarely does the disabled community see the media realistically depict the little details of struggles we face. Watching Triebes reverse-drive himself into his vehicle using his wheelchair was a meaningful reminder that the struggles are always there.

Within the entertainment industry, there is an unspoken sensitivity — and risk — to portraying the disabled poorly. However, that stigma has to disappear. The way “Born for Business” depicts its cast members' emotional sides and their small frustrations is an important step in the right direction. Rather than putting a spotlight on the disabled, “Born for Business” serves as a nice reminder that we all have everyday struggles in life. We all just want equality.

The business side of “Born for Business” is closer to the reality-TV cliches (drama between loved ones, financial problems, etc.) we have all seen before, but at least the disability aspects add a surprising flair to the series. You can watch the 10-episode docuseries streaming for free on Peacock.

Bryce Parks has SMA type 2. He hopes to make a difference to people through a variety of creative forms. Learn more about him here.

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