Kim Kardashian West is most well known for being a reality tv star, online influencer, and business owner. But recently, Kim Kardashian has broken the stereotypes of all three by announcing that she is not only planning to become a lawyer, but actively is. The celebrity wrote on Instagram a few weeks ago that last year, she “registered with the California State Bar to study law,” and that “a minimum of 18 hours a week is required” and that she “will take written and multiple choice tests monthly” for 4 years, and that currently, she’s preparing for the “baby bar,” a miniature version of the bar.
Why? “I have made this strict commitment to follow a dream of mine – It’s never too late to follow your dreams.” Kim Kardashian’s father was a lawyer, famous for defending OJ – so there’s no doubt that she was somewhat inspired by her father who has since passed. However, Kim Kardashian has already been pursuing criminal justice in her own life; it all began with her defense of people that have been way too harshly punished for their small crimes. Specifically, her persistence in getting Donald Trump to pardon Alice Johnson, a mother and grandmother who was sentenced life in prison for a crime that did not warrant life in prison. Because of this, she now has a team of lawyers that weed through letters from people who have been wrongly sentenced and are in need of help. However, even in interviews from years ago, Kardashian West would talk about her interest in true crime television shows – it’s clear that this has been where Kim’s heart has lied for a long time.
However, Kim Kardashian West has been getting some criticism for the newest development in her interest in criminal justice reform. It was recently announced that she is creating a documentary recording her experience with helping individuals given wrongful sentences. Many people took to social media to express how they thought that this is wrong; she is monetizing other people’s struggle and pain. While it is true that monetizing off criminal injustices is not the best look, I am personally inclined to believe that money was not the whole motivation behind creating a documentary series. I think Kim Kardashian would genuinely love to create a true crime esque series similar to the ones she has always said she enjoys. But it is not completely innocent; part of her motivation was, of course, to make money, and the other side of the argument is actually very important to consider; George Johnson writes in NBC News THINK, “In these moments, the Black community is forced to live on hope. Hope that we aren’t being used as the means to another capitalistic end and hope that the freeing of these inmates is the first step on a much longer journey, instead of tokenism.” Johnson writes that there a lot of issues with celebrity activism; “We need to beware the promises of celebrity activism, which sparks short-term enthusiasm but can make the hard, long work of undoing systemic injustice even more difficult,” he writes. Johnson even asks the question, “Was PR motivating her altruism?”
I also think it’s important to discuss that Kim Kardashian is helping make a huge difference in a few select people’s lives, but what we also need is overall policy change that will help people who have been victimized by the justice system. All of the people who have been giving undeserving sentences simply can’t rely on a single person – it’s ridiculous to think that right now, hundreds of people are writing letters to Kardashian’s lawyers, living off the energy that hope provides, which was given to them by Kim. Like Johnson said – hope is all they have, and it’s painful to think that Kim can’t serve all of them.
Johnson does write this: “… getting 17 people released from prison is great news. But it is not “prison reform.” It is not, but it is also not a bad attempt at it. Kim Kardashian is doing what she can with the platform she has, and I am always for celebrities doing the most with their platforms. Most simply aren’t doing enough, and it’s not like Kim isn’t only trying to get individual people out of prison – she is not a congresswoman, but she is studying to be a lawyer, which means she could help even more once she’s done with her education.
I do believe Kim Kardashian wouldn’t dedicate so much energy to this topic if she didn’t feel personally moved by it. “For anyone assuming this is the easy way out, it’s not. My weekends are spent away from my kids while I read and study. I work all day, put my kids to bed and spend my nights studying.” It’s clear Kim Kardashian has a real desire to do this and the fact that she hadn’t yet pursued it was plaguing her. It’s her time to shine in the field of crime (that’s a rhyme!). Perhaps she believes that if she hadn’t made the effort to pursue her dream, she would be incomplete, and in my opinion, that is a feeling that only occurs when the universe is telling you to do something that you absolutely need to do.