North West, the 9-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, has gained a following of 15.1 million on her supervised TikTok page by doing what kids do: drawing pictures, playing dress up, and just goofing around.
Last month, North showed off a portrait she drew of up-and-coming female rapper Ice Spice. Now, Kim Kardashian appears to have arranged some type of playdate between her daughter and the 23-year-old artist. The arrangement was hilariously compared to a parent leasing out a clown for their kid’s birthday party (likely a nod to Ice Spice’s signature red afro).
North posted multiple TikToks with Ice Spice along with two other girls her own age, as Ice Spice did the same. This supposedly random link-up gives off the same vibe as two influencers networking with each other for clout.
Kim posted a selfie with Ice Spice as well, clearly approving of the friendship. Some people saw Ice Spice as a big sister or idol figure to North. But if Ice Spice can be categorized as the Hannah Montana of North’s generation, we should all be worried.
Despite all the criticism former teen idols have leveled at the Disney machine for censoring and restricting them to a family-friendly public image, we have to concede that this was done, at least in part, for good reasons.
Ice Spice’s lyrical content is unambiguously adult-themed. In her recent feature on “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2” by PinkPantheress, the rapper says, “Bet he blowin’ her back / Thinkin’ ‘bout me ‘cause he know that it’s fat.” “In Ha Mood,” another Ice Spice track which North has used in her TikToks, includes lyrics like “In the party, he just wanna rump / Big boobs and the butt stay plump.”
Of course, it’s up to Kim and Kanye what music North is allowed to listen to — but should she be permitted to post videos of herself lip-syncing sexual references to an audience of millions before she grasps the consequences? That question leads many to revisit Kanye West’s strong objection to North using TikTok in the first place.
“I told [Kim] to stop antagonizing me with this TikTok thing,” Kanye disclosed on Instagram last year. “I am her father. I know y’all don’t respect fathers and the idea of family. … I am not allowing my daughter to be used by TikTok, to be used by Disney. I have a say-so.”
“Tell [Kim], don’t have my daughter wearing lipstick on TikTok and don’t have her on TikTok at all if I don’t approve that, and I said it after it was done without me knowing, and it happened again,” Ye said in a January 2022 interview with Hollywood Unlocked.
He continued, “I feel like there’s some poking the bear, trying to antagonize me or create this, like, ‘crazy’ narrative. Because to say someone is crazy, they’re trying to take the power away and do anything to get people to not pay attention to me.”
Even onlookers who ostensibly disagree with Kanye’s public statements are voicing support for this lucid and principled take on his daughter’s exposure to social media. “it’s crazy how we seeing in real time what Ye was talking about,” noted one tweet.
Co-parenting with a captive audience of millions is no easy task, especially when you’re in competition with a hyper-competent media mogul like Kim Kardashian. For all we know, Ice Spice’s management team could have organized and paid for this “playdate,” unbeknownst to North.
Children learn by imitating the behaviors they see from adults. Naturally, North dressed up in cosplay as Ice Spice with her young friends and posted a string of TikToks mimicking her idol.
Some were endeared by these posts. “north west dressing up as ice spice is everything,” said one tweet. Another wrote, “north is funny as hell, that whole meetup with ice spice was really just character study for her.”
Others were justifiably alarmed at this development, pointing out that the sexualized themes of Ice Spice’s music and wardrobe aren’t age appropriate for an impressionable grade-schooler. Multiple videos that North posted in costume were hastily deleted, prompting speculation that Kim made the same judgment.
“So millennial women are mad at North for dancing to Ice Spice. … like y’all weren’t booty dancing to Destiny’s Child with your shirts pulled up. Did y’all forget????” asked one Twitter user. One can argue the panic in this case is unwarranted because it involves the child of a celebrity, but we should actually condemn both of the aforementioned instances.
Little girls shouldn’t be conditioned by our hyper-sexualized culture into behaving like adult women, whether they’re aping Beyonce or Ice Spice. That scene in Mean Girls of Regina George’s little sister dancing to “Milkshake” is supposed to be cringeworthy, not cute.