Top Stories

The End of an Era: "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" Just Ended. But Will We Be Free?

The Kar-Jenners have built their empire at the expense of the marginalized groups they steal from

Keeping Up With the Kardashians Finale

via E!

It's the end of an era, and oh how times have changed.

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Top Stories

Why is Kendall Jenner Vogue’s Face of Mental Illness?

Kendall Jenner is the star of 'Open Minded,' Vogue's new series on mental health ... but why?

Kendall Jenner in Vogue's new series

via Vogue

May is Mental Health Month and this year the topic feels more relevant than ever. As more and more Americans get vaccinated and the pandemic gets closer to feeling 'over,' a focus on mental health has emerged in the mainstream.

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Culture Feature

What to Do When Kylie Jenner Asks You for Money

Maybe when you've been on the cover of Forbes you lose your crowdfunding privileges?

When a young, single working mom reaches out for help, we all have a responsibility to dig deep and give what we can.

And if she's not even asking for herself but for a friend who's in need of some assistance, you know that it must be for an exceptionally good cause. But if you happen to be struggling at the time — maybe with the consequences of some sort of global health crisis that has brought on a major economic downturn — and don't happen to be the founder of your own billion-dollar cosmetics empire, what should you do when the 23-year-old cosmetics mogul and star of Keeping Up with the Kardashians asks you to pay for her makeup artist's medical bills?

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The Fader

Everyone knows that it's a good and positive thing to find positivity and goodness in the world.

But not everyone is a visionary, once-in-a-generation genius capable of producing groundbreaking music, religious revival, and weird-looking shoes. If we were, then we would have come up with the party game—or "bored" game, as West punned—that Kanye and family showcased on this weekend's episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The good news is, you don't have to be Kanye West, or even to know Kanye West, to play this game with your own loved ones.

The rules are simple. Keep your pockets stuffed with pocket dictionaries so that, when the mood strikes, you can produce and distribute said dictionaries to everyone who wants to play. The only other equipment you need to play is a heart full of love and a highlighter. Pick a page in the dictionary and have everyone flip to that page together. Now take a minute to go through that page in silence, everyone highlighting the words they think are "positive." Once everyone is done highlighting, it's time to convene and discuss your results with the group.

This is where the magic happens. Did everyone highlight "precious," but only one person highlighted "precarious?" Why did they do that? Do they not know how the game works, or do they not know what that word means? If they don't know what that word means, why didn't they just read the definition? More importantly, who the hell highlighted MAGA? There are no wrong answers, but they need to explain why they think something that no one agrees with.

As Kanye says, "This always sparks these kinds of conversations." "These kind of conversations" being disagreements about whether "barter" is technically positive, since it "could also introduce so many negative things," and an insistent request for an explanation of why Kim highlighted "basic"—"You're not wrong or right, I just want to know why."

Thrilling. This is not the first time Kanye has espoused the wonders of reading the dictionary. Apparently he uses this exercise to assist in the song-writing process for his Sunday services. And now that you know how to play at home, you and the people you love can unlock your own religious muses by debating the emotional value of words such as "tedious," "hector," and "discord."

My only issue with the game as demonstrated is the fact that not even one member of the group highlighted "barrel." Do they have any idea how useful barrels have been to human civilization?! Do they hate beer, and wine, and oil, and basically the entire history of seafaring? Don't they know the philosophical teachings of Diogenes the Cynic? Do they have some kind of issue with the cooper community? Or maybe they're just a bunch of morons who wouldn't know true positivity if it bit them on the ass!

diogenes in a barrel Pictured: Me in my room

I don't even want to play this game anymore! Not with that bunch of jerks! I'm going to my room!

TV

Children of Celebrities: Famous Without Their Consent

Kylie Jenner's recent birthday shout out to Travis Scott was just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the weekend, in what was meant to appear as a grand gesture of love for her husband, Kylie Jenner rented out a massive billboard in Los Angeles's West Hollywood neighborhood to wish Travis Scott a happy birthday.

The billboard featured a gigantic black and white image of the couple's 14-month-old daughter, Stormi, alongside another photo of Jenner seductively posing with the child. "Happy birthday daddy," the billboard read. While Scott's birthday wasn't until Tuesday, Jenner continued to celebrate her husband's big day through the weekend. An Avengers party was thrown in his honor, and Jenner made sure to post a cute photo of the cake, which had little figurines of the family customized to look like superheroes. Then, following the premiere of Endgame last Friday, the family dressed up in bright costumes, with Stormi getting her own standalone Instagram post as a miniature Thor.

It's all but impossible to escape the media frenzy that surrounds celebrity babies. Beyoncé broke the internet when she announced that she was pregnant with twins in 2017 with an over-the-top pregnancy photo on Instagram that became the app's most liked photo of 2017. In what was almost definitely an ad for the Clearblue pregnancy kit, Nickelodeon star Daniella Monet announced she was pregnant in a photo with husband Andrew Gardner holding up a test that read a positive result. Kelly Rowland posted a picture of tiny Air Jordans next to Big Air Jordans, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum posted a "cryptic" photo of three pink ballerina tutu's on Instagram, and let's not forget Kim Kardashian announcing her pregnancy with both North and Chicago West on her scripted "reality" tv show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Meanwhile, DJ Khaled's exploitation of his son Ashad continues to make headlines. From curating an Instagram account for the toddler (which currently has 1.9 million followers), to putting him on the cover of Paper Magazine and bringing him in front of the camera at almost every available opportunity, Khaled's capitalization on his son has led to a running line of hilarious memes, whose overlying narrative is Ashad's annoyance and borderline hatred of his father. Khaled's new album is also set to be called Father of Ashad, and he lists his son as an "executive producer." Kylie Jenner, meanwhile, took a more "subtle" approach for her announcement, and waited until Stormi had been born before dropping a long, highly-edited and melodramatic "dedication video."

Pop culture's obsession with the children of celebrities has been a phenomenon for years, but more often than not leads to grave consequences for the famous children themselves. For example, Michael Jackson's eldest daughter recently entered rehab to get a grip on her "emotional and physical wellbeing." On the other side of the spectrum, children who become famous in their own right at young age suffer in the spotlight equally as much, if not more. Justin Bieber and Amanda Bynes suffered mental breakdowns, the former recently taking a hiatus from music to "[focus] on some of his deep-rooted issues." When celebrities promote their pregnancies and children for publicity, it calls into question whether the child's wellbeing is the priority. Time and again the public pities and shakes their head at the number of child stars and children of stars that end up spinning off, yet it's nearly impossible for a child to develop their own identity when that identity is tied into public perception of who they should be.

Even so, there are still plenty of amazing parents who acknowledge the risk of raising a child in the public eye and raise their children with that in mind. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard both agreed early on to keep their children out of the scrutinous eye of the media, and have since made sure they never share photos, or engage with paparazzi or fans when with their children. "We're not saying that we can't be newsworthy. We're saying that our child is not newsworthy," Bell said in an interview. "We chose to be the entertainers, so we never post...we've posted nothing...and we don't plan to." Cardi B and Offset also rarely share updates on their child. "I want to go to the beach with baby, I want to take a stroll down the street, and I can't because I don't know who's next to me and who has certain intentions," Cardi B said. Halle Berry famously has never shared any updates on her children, although paparazzi often sneak a photo or two. "It's my belief, and I'm not criticizing others who have different beliefs, that it's my job as their mother to protect their privacy as best I can."

As social media and reality TV continues to give the public closer looks into the lives of celebrities, maybe it's time for those celebrities to put their kids well being above their brands.


Mackenzie Cummings-Grady is a creative writer who resides in the Brooklyn area. Mackenzie's work has previously appeared in The Boston Globe, Billboard, and Metropolis Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @mjcummingsgrady.


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