Nepo Baby of the Week

Welcome back to Nepo Baby of the Week! If you come here often, you know how much I enjoy poking fun at the more detestable examples of Hollywood nepotism, whether it’s the Kardashians and their one-percenter problems or Brooklyn Beckham’s egregious cooking tutorials. This week, however, I’m a bit less cynical, as I was recently reminded of the value of certain nepo babies in our ever-declining celebrity ecosystem. Among them is the one and only Blue Ivy Carter.

Last week, I finally saw Beyoncé’s Renaissance World Tour in East Rutherford, New Jersey, after practically watching the entire show from every possible angle on my Twitter timeline over the past three months. (Yes, I know this column is technically long overdue!) That said, I mostly knew what to expect, aside from Beyoncé’s ever-expanding wardrobe of sequined jumpsuits and gowns.

I had hoped that maybe we’d get a Jay-Z appearance, given that many of the concertgoers, like myself, were traveling from New York. I even had the brief thought that Beyoncé would announce the long-awaited Renaissance visuals at my show in honor of the album’s one-year anniversary—before I immediately remembered that she never drops anything when you’d expect it.

Anyway, despite being fully primed for this concert, I did experience a particularly strong shock wave traveling through MetLife Stadium when Blue rose from under the stage to perform a now-iconic dance number during “My Power” and “Black Parade,” sending all 50,000 of us (this guesstimate is probably wrong) into hysterics. It was one of several times when the sheer spectacle of the concert briefly took me out of my body.

On one hand, Blue’s appearance elevated what would, otherwise, be a portion of the show where I simply swayed back and forth politely. (While I love “My Power,” I still can’t get into the groove of “Black Parade.”) On a personal level, I was instantly reminded of my niece, who coincidentally is a dancer and as shockingly tall as 11-year-old Blue. There was also the joy of seeing a Black mother and daughter perform on such an enormous stage and seemingly bond over their love of showmanship.

Blue’s also just an extremely confident and precise performer. On stage, you’d think she’s recording a TikTok video in her living room and not dancing in front of essentially an entire small Midwestern town every night. To think that certain people are criticizing her for not having the athletic skill of her mother is truly wild to me. (On a recent episode of the podcast Keep It, guest host Matt Rogers called out her apparent naysayers, who I’m going to go ahead and assume are white!)

It’s strange that such a young child of a celebrity—one who hasn’t already carved out a career path of their own, like the Olsen Twins—would have any sort of emotional effect on me. But even before Blue Ivy stepped out of her mother’s womb, I was defending her incessantly.

For instance, I have very vivid memories arguing with my high school friends after they doubted Beyoncé’s first full-term pregnancy. Looking back, I chalk it up to the immature impulse you have as a kid to believe every sensational thing you read on the internet. Still, it’s wild to recollect how even Black women and girls used to talk about Beyoncé and her uterus before she was universally referred to as “the Queen.”

I was more irritated, though, when Blue was first being seen in public, and people criticized Beyoncé for not “doing” her hair—as in, choosing to straighten Blue’s thick afro in a way that would probably damage it. There was also all that creepy discussion of whether Blue would turn out as pretty as Beyoncé or inherit her dad’s looks, which are also overly scrutinized. In fact, one of the most memorable interactions I’ve had on Twitter was calling out an actress/director—ironically a nepo baby—who commented on a post dreading the possibility that Blue would eventually resemble her dad. (She apologized.)

Anyway, maybe my over-protectiveness of Blue, who’s doing quite well for herself as the child of two billionaires, has to do with the fact that she’s arguably the most hypervisible Black child of my generation. Most of the current examples I can think of are sadly victims of hate crimes. Even with Sasha and Malia Obama in the national spotlight for a time, Blue always felt like America’s first “royal” baby—at least in a post-social-media age. Maybe the most apt comparison would be North West, although I don’t recall the public ever being concerned that she would turn out to be anything but a gorgeous, half-Black, half-Armenian child.

That said, it doesn’t feel like there’s necessarily a playbook for someone like Blue. But the way she exists both directly in the spotlight and on the periphery of the entertainment industry as a motif in her mother’s work is undeniably cool. (Let’s not forget she has a Grammy!) As much as I roll my eyes whenever Beyoncé or Jay-Z boast about their children following in their capitalist footsteps, it’s hard not to be happy that it’s happening to Blue.

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