Is It Time to Say “No” to Nepotism?

If you’re an avid resident of Twitter or someone who regularly uses the LetterBoxd app (This does not have a good connotation. Kidding.), you know very well what a nepotism baby is. For those who consume popular culture at a normal amount, to put it simply, nepotism babies are essentially celebrities whose rise in fame is, to an extent, attributable to their familial connections in the industry. Laura Dern, Drew Barrymore, Sofia Coppola, are some of the most well-known nepotism babies. Some more contemporary examples of nepotism babies include Maude Apatow, Willow and Jaden Smith, and Gracie Abrams.

Music, acting, influencing,—Is that a word? Is there a verb for being an influencer?—any kind of art industry, really, are extremely hard to catch a break in. Especially if you have no connections. And it doesn’t take a genius to realize that having a family member already involved in the industry gives you an advantage. 

Nepotism babies already have a huge leg up, compared to, you know, normal people. It’s considerably much easier to land a role in a million dollar movie when your dad’s the director, or finding first-rate acting lessons when your mother’s a two-time Oscar winner. It’s no secret that nepotism babies have an undeniable advantage over anyone else. 

Which really sucks for normal people because it takes away so many opportunities for them. Whether it be through having the money to pay for high-class lessons or having the ability to intermingle with notable figures in the industry, a nepotism baby’s journey to success is much easier than the regular person. 

My take on the subject? For the most part, I think nepotism babies are okay…if they’re genuinely talented and they’re not cosplaying as a poor person for relatability points. Like, yeah, maybe their talent can be traced to being exposed to their Grammy-winner mother and owner-of-ten-movie-studios father, but at the end of the day, the talent is still there. 

Where I do have a problem with nepotism babies is when they fail to acknowledge how their connections aided their success. I am—sadly—no nepotism baby myself, but you know, I do not think someone with famous parents worked as hard as someone who started out with no exposure, no connections, no funds, no advantages whatsoever. It’s much easier to be successful when you have everything you could ever need at the tips of your fingers. It’s also just incredibly tone-deaf and completely disregards any socioeconomic and/or racial disadvantages that normal people face when attempting to break into any industry. It’s not that nepotism babies don’t work hard, it’s just that some people do work harder.

Also, it’s really annoying when nepotism babies suck at things. Like, if you’re going to take away opportunities from talented people, at least also be talented?! Somewhere in the world, there could be, objectively, the best actor the world has ever seen, and we’d never know because they keep losing their well-deserved opportunities to nepotism babies. 

Also, I feel like, to an extent, nepotism puts a limit on art. By overindulging the same crop of nepotism babies over and over again, we’re limiting the scope of talent we’re able to witness. There are so many undiscovered talents in the world and it’s sad to think they’ll never be able to see the light of day, simply due to something as menial as familial favoritism. Not to mention that a good amount of nepotism babies are white, cisgendered, and able-bodied. In turn, nepotism also stands as a barrier when it comes to making the art world more diverse. I want to consume art that isn’t entirely curated by rich white people. Please. 

Final verdict? Nepotism is okay for the most part, but all industries need to prioritize genuine talent over connections. The world of art shouldn’t only be restricted to contributions from those who arose to fame thanks to nepotism.

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