While the world furiously litigates the parenting disputes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, we might as well consider the limits of secular media’s coverage. Determining who’s ultimately at fault for making these private conflicts public is an impossible game of chicken-or-egg: this is, after all, a relationship between an artist and a reality star, one that’s been commoditized since its inception. Their business has always been public both separately and together. Now kids are involved.
As the pair tries to disentangle from their marriage and coparent amicably, West has documented his side of the story on social media. It’s uncomfortably personal, tragic for the kids, and clear the rapper is in a bad place.
Alongside custody disputes, a central struggle seems to be West’s concerns over leftist and secular influences introduced to his children when they’re with their mother. West posted and then deleted an Instagram video on Sunday, writing, “I told y’all before about this tik tok stuff.”
He added: ”Now my 8 year old on here singing she fell in love with an emo girl Leftist don’t want fathers to have no say in our childrens [sic] lives.”
North, her mother, and her cousin posted a TikTok video on Thursday lip-syncing to “Emo Girl,” a song produced by North’s soon-to-be step-uncle Travis Barker rife with wildly sexual lyrics. They looked the part too, sporting smeared black makeup.
Last month, West asked Instagram followers for some advice. “SINCE THIS IS MY FIRST DIVORCE I NEED TO KNOW WHAT I SHOULD DO ABOUT MY DAUGHTER BEING PUT ON TIK TOK AGAINST MY WILL ?”
West posted a lot on Sunday, claiming his kids weren’t being allowed to attended worship service and praying on camera. Most of the content has since been deleted.
He was further antagonized on Sunday by Pete Davidson, who’s now dating Kardashian. When the comedian’s friend posted private texts between Davidson and West with the caption “A message from Pete,” we got a terrible glimpse into the state of their relationship.
By allegedly transmitting this “message” publicly, Davidson forfeited any claim to the high road and revealed an amazing contrast in maturity—it’s hard to look less stable and responsible than Kanye West, who makes virtually all his good and bad moments public. But Davidson managed to do it by a long shot.
Interestingly, West sounded pretty lucid in some of his Sunday posts, and that’s obviously not always the case. Granted, there’s no excuse for dragging your children’s intimate personal business onto social media whether you’re famous or not, and it isn’t exactly a sign of wellbeing to post that much serious content and then rapidly delete it.
But when you consider that West’s young Christianity has given him a new lens through which to see fatherhood and the secular world, he makes way more sense. It all becomes a tragic case study in the difficulties of living out your faith in a dark society with secular norms.
That is not to exclude other serious causes of conflict or absolve West of responsibility. While the public has more information than it should, we’ll never have all of it and need not take a side or cast blame.
Still, we’re clearly seeing the friction between West’s old life and his new one. Both West and Kardashian want the best for their children, and Kim long defended West’s intensifying devotion to Christ. But that song is sexualized, TikTok is terrible, and a father’s decision should mean something. It’s a jarring reminder of how far we’ve fallen that most of the media fawned over North’s TikTok and treated West like a freak for pushing back.
Those who follow Kardashian closely understand she’s much more mature than her persona. She loves her kids. The Kardashians are more religious than people realize too. But our norms are so out of whack that even well-intentioned parents with Christian beliefs let their kids sing inappropriate songs on TikTok—and the media thinks it’s cute.
Kanye West hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory since he decided to get more serious about his faith (see here for a recent example), but he shouldn’t be expected to either. He’s a human being. And like most human beings who seek to follow Christ in this hyper-secular world, he’s clashing with the culture. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that his kids have a father who wants them to follow Jesus too.