Are We Counting on Kim Kardashian to Fix Criminal Justice?

She's doing great and important work, but what does that say about our justice system?

Kim Kardashian's Journey To Becoming A Lawyer | Season 16 | Keeping Up With The Kardashians

Over the past two years, Kim Kardashian West has made her brand synonymous with criminal justice reform.

Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that she has subsumed the criminal justice cause into her brand. Her colossal celebrity status has already proven its power by elevating her entire family to the height of reality TV royalty—even providing the springboard for the world's youngest "self-made" billionaire. Combine that with her legal ambitions and husband Kanye West's strange position as the most prominent black celebrity to join the MAGA cause, and she is suddenly positioned perfectly to work as an advocate fighting wrongful convictions and excessive sentencing.

Beginning with convincing Donald Trump to pardon Alice Johnson—who was serving a life sentence for non-violent drug offenses in the 1990s—Kardashian West has had a string of high-profile successes in her advocacy. She was instrumental in getting President Trump to negotiate A$AP Rocky's release from a Swedish prison, and helped secure early release for Momolu Stewart. She is starring in a forthcoming documentary with Oxygen called Kim Kardashian West: The Justice Project, has partnered with Lyft in a program to provide former inmates with free rides to job interviews, and according to MiAngel Cody—lead counsel of the Decarceration Project—was involved in freeing 17 inmates from prison over a three month period. So perhaps it's no wonder that Kardashian West was present at the pivotal moment in another high-profile case this week.

At the center of the case, Rodney Reed, a man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of Stacey Stites. He was scheduled to be executed this Wednesday in Texas, despite multiple witnesses coming forward with testimony against the victim's then-fiancé—Jimmy Fennel, a former cop who has since been convicted of rape in a separate case—and despite the fact that no DNA tests were ever performed on the murder weapon. The case has prompted a massive online movement and several petitions for Governor Greg Abbott to grant Reed a stay of execution. Is it a coincidence then, that when that stay of execution finally came through, Reed was meeting with none other than Kim Kardashian West?

Kim Kardashian in prison jumpsuit

It very well might be, but considering the monolithic force that Donald Trump represents within the modern Republican Party—and the amount of sway that Kim and Kanye seem to have over Trump—it's not hard to imagine that a Republican governor could give such a case some extra consideration when Kardashian West is involved. At the very least, the timing is curious, but if we're going to believe that Kim Kardashian West is in some way responsible for the governor's sudden moral turn, we have to consider what that means for our criminal justice system.

Was a petition signed by nearly three million concerned citizens not compelling enough for Governor Abbott to give the evidence another look? As Kim herself put it "you had everyone from Ted Cruz to Shaun King on this case," yet it wasn't until she was meeting with Reed that his stay came through. More to the point, in a state that executes more prisoners than any other, shouldn't the governor give thorough consideration to each of these lives, regardless of public outcry? Shouldn't the entire justice system be willing to reexamine its past decision to eliminate bias and use the best evidentiary standards available today? If we are going to spend billions of dollars each year keeping people locked away from their former lives, shouldn't we be willing to spend the money to ensure that those people are guilty of the crimes they're being punished for?

The work that Kardashian West has been doing for criminal justice is genuinely amazing. For someone who, not that long ago, seemed like a purely vapid symbol of the disease of celebrity worship, she has managed to channel her status into an immense amount of positive change in a very short time. I would never want to say anything to discourage her from continuing—or other celebrities from following suit—but it still feels important to point out that this is not the way criminal justice is supposed to work.

kim kardashian what to say gif

The difference between a person's freedom and imprisonment should not be subject to the attention of someone with 100 million followers on Instagram. Justice should not be as fickle as fashion trends. We can't rely on Gigi Hadid to get woke so we can end the carceral state. I don't have a better solution. I don't have the Kardashian-level status to even propose one seriously. I just think it's important for us to all take a moment, before we go back to praising Kim's work, to just acknowledge that this is f*cked up.

American model Kylie Jenner at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards

Photo by Image Press Agency (NurPhoto-Shutterstock)

In 2014, Taylor Swift filed to trademark the phrase "this sick beat" and four other quips repeated in her album 1989.

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Kylie Jenner…Billionaire?

That's What Forbes Predicts

The rich keep getting richer.

Forbes has Kylie Jenner in mind as the gal who is, "on track to soon be the youngest self-made billionaire ever." At just 20-years-old, the youngest sibling of the famous Kardashian-Jenner clan is cruising into billionaire status, sitting on a $900 million mountain that was amassed in under 3 years. But "self-made?" Well sorta.

While her drive, determination, and dollars are impressive, some call Forbes' "self-made" description a bit deceptive. One Twitter user complained, "Calling Kylie Jenner self-made without acknowledging anywhere the incredible head start she had is what allows people to turn around and look at poor people and ask them why they haven't become billionaires yet. Her story is not inspiring or motivating for anyone." Another chimed in, "Kylie Jenner is not 'self-made' at all. This is the problem with talking about successful people in America. We act like they did it by themselves when that's never the case. And, with people like the Kardashians/Jenners, they were always rich."

Well, haters gonna hate, as they say, but Jenner is taking the backlash to the bank. Her fortune is phenomenal, "thanks in large part to her wildly popular makeup line, Kylie Cosmetics," notes CBS News. She owns all of the cosmetics brand, not to mention the money that pours in from additional endorsement deals, reality show dough, and then some.

Forbes explains, "Another year of growth will make her the youngest self-made billionaire ever, male or female, trumping Mark Zuckerberg, who became a billionaire at age 23."

Jenner Tweeted, "thank you @Forbes for this article and the recognition. I'm so blessed to do what i love everyday. #KylieCosmetics." And that's not lip service.

Lucrative Lip Kit

Kylie Jenner's Lip Kit is the real money maker. After she came out with the news that she plumped her lips professionally, Jenner came out with a fabulous makeup kit for fans seeking to achieve the same look. A liner and lipstick go a long way in creating the perfect pout. And for Jenner, the more sales, the more success. Her mom is her manager, so "momager" Kris gets 10%, but the rest of the money goes right into Jenner's pocket. Hundreds of millions and growing. SWAK!

Famous Friends

The future Mrs. Justin Bieber is close with the Kar-Jens too. Here she's posing with her friend Kylie Jenner for a pic that couldn't get any prettier. Will Kylie be in the bridal party? And more importantly, will Hailey Baldwin use a Lip Kit for her bridal makeup?

Mommy's Got Money

Hey cutie. Do you know your mama's loaded? This little girl will grow up in luxury with a young mom who is filthy rich. With a family full of millionaires and a mom who is about to become a billionaire (according to Forbes), sweet little Stormi will never go without. Hopefully her mom's business sense gets passed down and this girl goes on to do amazing things too. If not, there's always reality TV. Surely Ryan Seacrest's phone number's on speed-dial.

Lingerie All Day

For the first time, we're not paying attention to Kylie's lips. After all, this revealing undergarment set is quite alluring. Confident with her figure and satisfied with showing it off, Kylie proves that a little goes a long way.

Baywatch Beauty

Kylie may be all about the lips but here she puts the "bum" in beach bum. Evidently, Kim's not the only sister in the family with killer curves. The temperature outside was surely hot that day but when Kylie hit the sand, there was a heat wave!


Yes, Kylie was a cutie back in the day, but here we see her before lip injections and whatever else she had "done." It's almost hard to believe this is the same person! Kylie surely changed her appearance over the years, so can we say she is "paying it forward" by letting the world in on her makeup must-haves?

She's a "Barbie Girl"

Pink is powerful, proven by the Barbie-like Kylie in this hot pink swimsuit and matching makeup. The blonde look works for the beauty who seems to change up her style at the drop of a hat. And in this case, the drop of nearly all the rest of her clothes too.


Looking like a million bucks at the last MET Gala, Kylie and her beau Travis Scott are decked out in black hitting the red carpet in true celeb style. As if they're not cool enough, Kylie added a pair of sexy shades to complete the look.

Beauty and Big Bucks

Both of these sisters are beautiful in their own right, but Kendall's the model who also makes millions. Money says she's worth $18 million which is nothing to sneeze at, but compared to her little sis, it's not much. Still, walking Paris runways and shooting provocative pics on tropical islands isn't too shabby. And when her looks fade, she can always hit up Kylie for cash. Or at least use her Lip Kit to freshen up.

Kim Who?

Kim used to be the big shot of the bunch but it looks like Kylie is stealing her thunder. Looks like big sis taught the youngest well - to use social media to propel popularity to the max. Of course, no one could ever replace Kim, but Kylie is stepping out as the star of the money-obsessed family. Kim's no billionaire but she's got her own "assets," so to speak. We're sure she'll be just fine, even if Kylie becomes the hottest thing since Kim's sex tape.

Proud Mama

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Kylie got her business savvy from her mom. Kris Jenner is the "momager" with the most, making her kids rich and famous, and getting a cut of the action. From reality TV to endorsements to businesses and then some, Kris has helped catapult her kids into the limelight, making a buck whenever possible. Some moms help their kids launch lemonade stands. Kris makes Lip Kits a raging success.

Kickin' it with Khloe

Khloe is always fun to be with, so Kylie must love it when she has time to chill with her cool older sister. With matching thigh-high slits, these sassy sisters prove that a great fashion sense runs in the family. Showing lots of skin is a common thread too...

Proud Parent

Could Caitlyn Jenner be more proud? Kylie is surely an inspiration, even for a former Olympian. At such a young age, Caitlyn's daughter is doing amazing things. And not to mention the family discount on Lip Kits!

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