Kardashian vs. West in the Court of Public Opinion


West has been receiving backlash for his outbursts on social media (Courtesy of Instagram).

Influencer Kim Kardashian and rapper Ye West — formerly Kanye West — announced their split after seven years of marriage, citing “irreconcilable differences” as their reason. They have four children; North, age eight, Saint, age six, Chicago, age three and Psalm, age two. Neither one of them spoke publicly about their relationship and divorce for a year, but on Feb. 5,  West posted a picture of North’s TikTok account, captioning it: “Since this is my first divorce, I need to know what to do about my daughter being put on TikTok against my will?” 

This sparked another lengthy discussion prompted by West, criticizing Kardashian’s parenting style. West stated in interviews that he did not want North on social media, specifically TikTok. In a post on her Instagram story, Kardashian replied to West’s accusations saying, “as the parent who is the main provider and caregiver for our children I am doing my best to protect our daughter while also allowing her to express her creativity…with adult supervision — because it brings her happiness…” Kardashian has explicitly stated that she shares the account with North and monitors what is posted. 

Conservative commentator Candace Owens took West’s side regarding North’s TikTok account. Owens tweeted, “The psychological effects of social media on young girls is real and documented … there are other creative outlets for kids.” In a separate tweet, Owens said, “There is no need for an eight-year-old to be on social media. Go color.” 

The family drama continued publicly over Instagram. “From the beginning, I have wanted nothing but a healthy and supportive co-parenting relationship because it is what is best for our children and it saddens me that Kanye continues to make it impossible every step of the way,” Kardashian said. West replied not too long after with a discussion about their daughter Chicago’s birthday party, to which he was not invited, claiming that Kardashian was keeping his children from him, saying: “A father should never have to beg for the location of their children.”

West also claimed that he “gave the Kardashians culture,” referring to the fact that as a Black man, he is responsible for informing her on Black culture. Kardashian has been accused of cultural appropriation several times, being called out for applying dark tans, wearing box braids and hairstyles specifically worn by Black women. On Instagram, he claimed the Kardashians “play” with Black men’s lives “whether it’s getting them free or getting them locked up. I’m not playing about my Black children anymore.”

The Kardashian-West drama that is happening is being perceived as just that: petty drama. I would want to blame the celebrities at hand for this one, but I know it is not only their fault. It’s ours, too. For years, West has had very public meltdowns on social media. It is a known fact that he has bipolar disorder, and we blame his condition every single time he opens his mouth — or in this case, opens Instagram. In actuality, what we’re witnessing is a man having a breakdown over not being able to see his children, but because of the stigma surrounding mental health in our society combined with West’s celebrity status and public life, we shrug it off. We laugh at him and make memes mocking him as though this clear cry for help is just some performance.

I have very young family members around North’s age, and even though I think he can be  a bit delusional, I have to agree with West on this issue. I don’t think I would want my young family members on social media, specifically TikTok, either. I’ve seen what happens on the app; people are superficial and cruel about nearly everything and children are no exception to the relentless bullying. 

The problem is that kids today, specifically celebrity children like North, don’t really have a choice anymore. Social media is what keeps the world running nowadays; the  majority of people get their news from social media, they communicate with others and they learn what they like and don’t like. When you’re in a family like the Kardashians, who wouldn’t be popular at all if it weren’t for social media, being exploited — no matter what age — isn’t optional. 

West can get as angry as he wants and write as many Instagram captions as he pleases, but he knew what he was signing up for when he married Kardashian. He knew that he was going to have to cave in regarding his opinions about social media. His wife wouldn’t be able to make a living if it weren’t for the posts she makes on Instagram — nobody in that family would. 

While I think West has a point about the Kardashians messing with Black culture, it’s too late for him to say anything about it now. He was married to her for seven years without saying anything regarding her several violations of cultural appropriation with makeup and self-tanner that was too dark and hairstyles that weren’t made for her hair. He allowed the Kardashians to exploit Black culture for profit without speaking out against it or doing anything to raise awareness of the struggles of that same community he’s constantly talking about in his music. Not to mention, in 2016, West openly supported a presidential candidate who actively rooted for the oppression of Black people. It seems like he’s just grasping at straws to fuel a smear campaign against his ex-wife, and he’s now using this argument because it’s convenient. 

None of us need to “take sides” in family drama that has nothing to do with the public. This is between Kardashian and West, and last time I checked, I wasn’t married to either of them. However,  for the sake of their children, I hope they do put an end to this petty and ridiculous drama.