Of all the tough conversations happening on the internet today, few seem as polarizing as the rapper Offset’s decision to buy his two-year-old daughter Kulture an Hermès Birkin.
If this is the first time you’re hearing about the social media drama, a quick recap: On Wednesday evening, Offset posted a video of himself helping his toddler unwrap a bubblegum-hued version of the iconic handbag to Instagram. In the clip, ostensibly filmed by Kulture’s mother Cardi B, you can hear Kulture squeal “Pink!” the moment Offset removes the purse from its dustbag.
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A post shared by OFFSET (@offsetyrn) on Jul 15, 2020 at 7:40pm PDT
The backlash came just as swiftly. While some saw it as the cute father-daughter moment it was on the surface, others called it a flagrant waste of money. “What she gone put in there? Cheetos & pop tarts edges!” one person wrote in the comments section. Twitter users quickly amassed a body of posts that set the topic trending, many of which decried the gift in similar terms: What’s a child to do with one of the most exclusive bags money can buy?
.maybe I don’t understand giving a 2 year old a birkin because I’m not rich? … but what toddler would want that.
— Quishá Mōnet (@kissmequi) July 16, 2020
I wish celebrities would stop buying gifts for their kids to get more likes on IG, wtf a 2 year old gonna do with a Birkin. She is not excited, you are.
— jiggaman (@jiggyjayy2) July 16, 2020
A BIRKIN BAG?!! When will you start treating a 2 year old as a 2 year old and give her some toys to play? smh https://t.co/TiI0hmlNBg
— 𝕊𝕒𝕟 (@angelicjailey) July 16, 2020
Some came to Offset’s defense, citing both his ability to spend his considerable discretionary income however he pleases and a litany of examples of celebrity parents buying their children extravagant gifts without taking any flak. In her own Instagram story, Cardi said plainly that the stakes (and the scrutiny) are different for children of well-known people. “Kids go to restaurants, kids go to fancy places. Celebrity kids, they go and do red carpets. And if I’m fly and daddy’s fly, then so is the kid,” she said.
“If it was [up to] kids, they’d be outside in diapers,” Cardi added. “If I was looking like a bad bitch, expensive bitch, and I had my kid looking like a bum bum, then y’all would be talking shit. So I’m not mad that daddy bought baby a Birkin. She gon’ match mommy.”
You might say that being able to buy a toddler a Birkin is the prize for figuring out how to make money in music without being Drake, Adele or Taylor Swift, as Offset (with his band Migos) and Cardi have done in the past few years. But it’s also important to note that Birkins are a historically good investment for people with the means and access to acquire them. Alongside certain watches, cars and spirits, the bag is one item on a shortlist of luxury goods that actually appreciate in value.
Much of this has to do with a sense of scarcity, but it’s exacerbated by how well rare editions of the bag have done in the secondary market. Earlier this year, the auction monitoring firm Art Market Research reported that Birkins showed a 42 percent increase in value compared to 2019. During the same period, works by world-renowned street artist Banksy only appreciated by 23 percent.
“This is the fastest-growing collectors’ area, and it’s the first time that women are running the category,” said AMR’s CEO Sebastian Duthy at the time.
In light of that trend, Offset buying Kulture a Birkin is not that different from other parents buying their children cases of wine every year, amassing a healthy collection (and a robust ROI) by the time they’re legally able to enjoy it.
It also displays a lot of forethought. On her 16th birthday, Kulture will already have a place to put the keys to her Lamborghini.
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