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Three months into 2018 and the Kardashians are still at the front of the global conversation. Sunday, March 4, was the season 14 finale of Keeping Up with the Kardashians that ranked No. 3 that night in original cable ratings. In the episode, Khloe “No-Filter” Kardashian reveals the gender of her first child: a girl. Khloe initially announced her pregnancy Dec. 20. 2017 via Instagram with her NBA boyfriend Tristan Thompson which earned 8 million likes. However, rumors of her expecting were first reported back in September the same time frame as her two sisters Kylie, 20 and Kim, 37 putting the internet into a frenzy. (Was this a setup? Could’ve been). Just last month, Kylie surprised us with news of the birth of her first child with hip-hop artist Travis Scott eclipsing the 53rd Super Bowl on social media — with over half a million more social engagements.
More than 10 years have passed since Keeping Up with the Kardashians first aired on E! Network, but the spark of Hollywood’s 21st-century dynasty is not even close to burning out. Especially not after the press reported this past October, the Kardashians signed a deal for $150 million with the channel to extend KUWTK for another five seasons making it the most lucrative contract in the history of reality television. What is it about the Kardashians that keep people coming back for more?
In 2010, veteran journalist Barbara Walters interviewed the family addressing the new pejorative of “famous for being famous” saying in a frank manner, “You don’t act, you don’t sing, you don’t dance, you don’t have any – forgive me – any talent.” Contrary to that popular belief, I believe the Kardashian/Jenner clan do have a talent. No, it isn’t singing, dancing, acting, writing or hosting. It is simply the talent of making you watch.
The Kardashian family is probably the first family to pave their own their way as an attention-craving family born with socio-economic privilege but without the traditional it-factor that is the key ingredient to become a bona fide star in the world of show business since the days of silent film. There is not a seat at Yale or UCLA for everyone, but not everyone is made out to be a movie star or an MTV-bred pop princess.
So, for the Kardashian daughters (and Rob) to have the ability to make you pay attention, that is honestly a reputable talent in itself. In the 2000s, reality TV shows continued to become normalized in the world of popular culture, but it was the Kardashageddon that took over the latter half of the decade that proved how far one could financially thrive as they turned it into a billion-dollar empire and sustainable career.
Kimberly Noel Kardashian, the daughter of future-matriarch Kris Houghton and the late Robert Kardashian Sr., an Armenian-American lawyer whose client was O.J. Simpson, followed the blueprint of heiress and former friend Paris Hilton. Like The Simple Life, star did three years prior, Kim capitalized off a “leaked” sex tape and her and
hey wait a minute ain’t that Moesha’s brother? then-boyfriend C-list R&B singer Ray J in 2006. Her exotic (and ethnically-confusing) looks and body-too-bootylicious figure coupled with her valley girl-voice and killer fashion game, made her the girl men wanted and women envied. But she didn’t just relish in the “famous for being famous” tabloid life bandwagon by herself, she brought her her whole family and close friends along for the ride to redefine what it means to be a celebrity in the 21st century age of Twitter and Instagram.
There is no doubt that popular culture and (and hip-hop culture) which would be less enjoyable without the blockbuster clan known as Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall, Kylie, Kris and
K-less Robert. The Kardashians haven’t done anything beneficial specifically to anyone and maybe we would be less distracted without their presence but their antics and actions broadcast to the public spark conversations both social and political about important issues that are otherwise not talked about in our country: Cultural appropriation, social media narcissism, interracial relationships, teenage body image, transgender issues, sibling rivalry, materialism and contemporary feminism. No matter what age, race or place you come from you have turned your head back at least once to peep the moves the Calabasas-based royals have done.
Not even Beyoncé & Jay-Z or Katy Perry and Taylor Swift can continuously sit at the top of the throne of 24-hour media coverage and speculation whether it be through the TMZ community or your daily news publications. There probably isn’t any other star that comes to mind with multiple [family] counterparts with various careers with as much clout that can support one another or match up to each other’s influence. If you take all of their social media analytics and reach, there is no single celebrity, public figure or politician that can compete with that. As of March 2018, the Kardashian-Jenners’ are only family members to make up the top 25 of the most followed accounts on Instagram more than once simultaneously: Kim (No. 6), Kylie (No. 8), Kendall (No. 12), Khloe (No. 18) and Kourtney (no. 22).
Love them or hate them, there will be a chance — especially for decades to come thanks to the arrival of the new generation of cute offspring — that we’ll always keep on being kept up with the Kardashians.