North West, Kim Kardashian and the brutal reality of having famous parents.

North West has made her theatre debut and it's gone about as well as you'd expect from a nepo baby whose acting credits consist mostly of TikTok dances, lip syncs and being Kim Kardashian's daughter. 

Unsurprisingly, the mess of a performance has sparked the usual backlash, but — while all the frustration is valid — there's one thing we all seem to be forgetting: that North West, despite her blood-boiling privilege, is still a child. 

North West appeared as young Simba (the lead character) in The Lion King's 30th anniversary concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Friday, in a performance that was doomed from the get-go in a way that almost feels poetic.

After all, she too is the inheritor of a kingdom (or really, an empire); something that us scavengers on the edge of society are increasingly angry about. 

Though, unlike Simba, she's still got both her celebrity parents, no tragic backstory, and no stint away from riches that's taught her the perspective of normies — which makes her pretty unsympathetic in this story. 

Clad in a yellow zip-up jacket with a fluffy hood, matching shorts and paw-like slippers, North already looked out of place among the more elaborate costumes and makeup of other performers onstage. 

Her rendition of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" — her big moment — was punctuated with awkward dancing, off-key singing and confused glances as she was guided around the stage. 

North West and Jason Weaver. Image: Instagram @kimkardashian via stories.


Despite the lacklustre performance and questionable singing, she was met with a standing ovation — as if this production was a primary school talent show, and not a massive Disney Anniversary event with multiple sponsors and corporations behind it, where ticket prices started at $60 ($90 in AUD). 

North's performance has, of course, sparked a lot of anger and frustration online. During an increasingly fraught time both economically and politically, tensions towards the Kardashian's are particularly high, and seeing one of their kids land a huge role without hard work or talent to justify it tastes more bitter than usual. Especially given the standing ovation — is this a real production, or a playground for the rich and privileged?

@extra_tv North West performs in “The Lion King” at the Hollywood Bowl! 🦁🎶 (Wait to see Kris Jenner at the end! ☺️) 🎥: @jackthestenographer #northwest #kimkardashian #kanyewest #kardashians #krisjenner #thelionking #hollywoodbowl ♬ original sound - ExtraTV

Comments on videos of North's performance range from critical to hateful, but even the cruellest ones (which I have chosen not to include) are anchored in the same, valid point: that North shouldn't have been handed a role simply because she is the child of a billionaire. 

"Nepotism is crazy lol. Someone else's more talented, probably voice and dance trained kid didn't get it because his/her family isn't famous enough," one person wrote. 

"Aw man...I feel bad for the kids there that are actually talented who could've nailed this. I'm sure her mom's influence (or money) is the only reason she got this leading/singing role," said another. 

I completely agree. It's a bad look for everyone involved — so why are we picking so viciously on North specifically? 

We seem to be forgetting that unlike other nepo babies we love to drag (like Brookyln Beckham or Hailey Bieber), North is only 10 years old — she didn't organise this event, she didn't cast herself for this role, and she probably doesn't understand her place or responsibility in society.

What we're seeing happen to North is reminiscent of the bullying Beyoncé's daughter Blue Ivy experienced last year, also after giving a lack-lustre performance on stage (though that was a little different since she was performing at her mum’s show, and not something organised by Disney).


Blue Ivy read the nasty comments about her at the time, and it really upset her. You'd think Kim might have taken this into account when deciding whether to put North in a similar situation, but nope. And it looks like the public hasn't learned much either. 

Listen to The Spill hosts discuss the brutal downside of being related to Kim Kardashian. 

She is a child who has been handed a lot of things on a silver platter (I will never forget when Kim Kardashian acquired Ice Spice for her like some kind of rare Barbie doll), but she's a child nonetheless, and I don't think it's right hold her responsible for decisions — poor as they are — that were made by adults. 

Really, we should be asking: who at Disney or Live Nation or the other groups involved with producing the concert decided to prioritise hiring an influencer over a trained dancer? Who decided to sacrifice talent for money? Who chose connections and nepotism over auditions and talent?

North West backstage. Image: Instagram @kimkardashian via story.


The frustration at North's casting in The Lion King should be directed at the industry and people that allow it. 

It should be directed at her parents for indulging her whims and buying their way into opportunities, to the execs who accept their money and deals, and… maybe to the people that watch North on social media, too?

After all, almost 20 million people follow her on TikTok —  it's this followership that makes her an attractive option for events that want publicity and clout in the first place. It's these people she is cast for, and these people who are expected to tune in when she does outrageous stunts or appears in lavish productions. 

So yes, call out the nepotism and classism that led to her snagging a role that should’ve gone to someone who deserved it, but let's not pretend she would have the relevance and opportunities she does if everyone around her didn’t enable her — including us. 

Feature Image: Getty

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