The New York Magazine recently came out with a story titled How a Nepo Baby is Born* and resulted in a lot more conversation around the topic. The story not only analyzed the nepo baby and their privileges, but also how society views them. It touched on multiple topics including the children of celebrities that were deemed successful and those who lead "normal" lives and held regular jobs.
I also found it interesting to hear the "anti-anti-nepotism" stance. Children of the rich and famous argued they may be at a disadvantage because of the parent(s)' status... which truly just sounded like rich people trying to feel oppressed for absolutely no reason.
But while reading this engaging piece, I could not help but think about the identities of those mentioned in the story. To no surprise... all of them were white. The genders were diverse but race was a non-existent factor in this piece.
You know, I get it. It was not about race. It was simply about the nepo babies and their place in society, but there was one part in particular that really struck me and caused me take a step back and think about this from a race relations perspective.
The article mentioned that a lot of nepo babies start out modeling. The writer (Nate Jones) made the very valid point that it's the easy way into the business. You can start them young and they never really have to speak. The last few years have proven that the general public does not really care to hear celebrities speak. Think about it, they either say something inappropriate or something completely unrelatable, hence the beginning of "cancel culture".
Someone in particular comes to mind... Lori Harvey. She is known to be a beautiful woman that models, has immaculate fashion sense, and is able to have any man she wants. She is also known to be the daughter of comedian, Steve Harvey, and socialite, Marjorie Harvey. An outright nepotism baby. She began her career modeling and maintained a sense of mystery along the way. Yet, something about her path does not seem to be the same as her white counterparts.
My question is, does nepotism really work the same way in the Black community? Do the connections that actors, singers, models and performers have only limit them to work in Black spaces? It is interesting that Lori Harvey, despite being considered one of the most beautiful women to grace our eyes, is really only famous amongst other Black people. What makes her any different than Lily-Rose Depp? Or Hailey Bieber?
Yes, Lily-Rose and Hailey may have parents that have acclaimed more fame than Lori's but I would venture to say that nepotism may exist in the Black community but it does not work the same way.
Recently, Lori Harvey was on cover of Essence magazine* and had a cover story in that particular issue. When asked about new projects she was working, she made it a point to say that she didn't ask for money from her parents or for any of their connections. She built it from the ground up. Which, to me, is not surprising. Often, giving children "handouts" as a Black parent is not accepted because if a parent uses their fame, money, or connections to assist the child in different ventures, other Black people may frown upon it.
Famous White people are always putting their children on, which is why they are able to hold onto generations of fame and notoriety while Black people have not had that same luxury. There was a time where it was every man for themselves because we all were just trying to make it. Now that there are a few more opportunities, Black people have simply not had the practice.
Even in the middle or working class families, Black people have trouble with providing their children with more than what they received. So it may be safe to say that nepotism exists for Black people but it will be long before it reaches the heights that White people have practiced it at.
*Lori Harvey Loves Herself: https://www.essence.com/cover-stories/lori-harvey/