O’Shea Jackson Jr. took to Twitter to share his thoughts on being the famous child of a famous entertainer—or, as highlighted by this week’s New York magazine-inspired discourse, one of Hollywood’s “nepo babies.”
In a series of tweets, O’Shea defended his father, Ice Cube, whom he credits with giving him the work ethic needed to be successful in the entertainment industry. He also offered a nuanced take on nepotism.
“My dad told me in a perfect world, I would play him in [Straight Outta Compton],” wrote 31-year-old Jackson. “I was already in college for screenwriting at USC. I accepted the challenge. And auditioned for two years before getting the role. After that it was up to me, he couldn’t hold my hand through my career. I had to get my ass up and make it work. … Once the door was opened it was up to me to walk through it and thrive.”
Jackson—who since 2015’s Straight Outta Compton has appeared in Obi-Wan Kenobi, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Ingrid Goes West, and more—said despite the specific aspects of hard work he described in his series of tweets, it couldn’t have happened without Cube.
“NONE. OF. THAT. Happens that way without the love of my father,” O’Shea wrote. “The work he put in to get us to a place of opportunity. And for me to ignore that or not accept and use as a guide would be foolish and disrespectful. I am grateful and I use his teachings daily.”
He continued, “To the people who are 2nd, 3rd or any number of generational talent/wealth. Embrace that shit. Because it’s something that’s been happening for centuries. Do not let anyone get it in your head that you should feel bad or your accomplishments are less than…what they are.”
Jackson hopes those who use his advice can leave a legacy for their kids to build on with pride. “It is not a shadow for you to get out of! It is an empire to which you are growing! But it all starts with love of yourself. Love of those before you. A strong mind & WORK.”
In his concluding remarks, before joking he’d just given a TED Talk, O’Shea Jackson Jr. added, “I wish everyone in this world to be able to present opportunities for their children to succeed. … May everyone who reads this, blaze a trail for their family to be able to walk in the future.”
Also responding to the nepotism discourse was Lily Allen, born to an actor father (Keith Allen) and a mother who produced movies (Alison Owen). On Monday she wrote on Twitter, “The nepo babies y’all should be worrying about are the ones working for legal firms, the ones working for banks,and the ones working in politics, If we’re talking about real world consequences and robbing people of opportunity. BUT that’s none of my business. And before you come at me for being a nepo baby myself, I will be the first to tell you that I literally deserve nothing.”
On Tuesday the singer expanded on that in a thread that wrapped with her tweeting, “I do feel that nepo babies are being somewhat scapegoated here though, there is a wider, societal conversation to be had about wealth inequality, about lack of programs and funding, and I guess that was the point I was trying to make, maybe badly. I promise you I’m not rooting for an industry full of people that had childhoods that looked like mine. I just really think that we can’t get to a real solution without identifying the real problem, as fun as it is to laugh at the kids of famous people. Nepo babies have feelings.”
New York was far from the first media outlet to bring the subject to the fore, in fact titling its latest cover story “The Year of the Nepo Baby.” Various 2022 coverage included the New York Times’ “What Is a ‘Nepotism Baby’? on May 2, the Washington Post’s “Hollywood ‘nepo babies’ know what you think of them. They have some thoughts” (Aug. 1), the Independent’s “Hollywood’s ‘nepo babies’ should just drag their privilege into the open” (Nov. 22), and the Daily Beast’s “Nepo Babies’ of Famous Parents Say They Did It Their Way. No One Is Buying It” on Nov. 24.
This content was originally published here.