One of the toughest parts of fame has to be having the details of your personal life devoured by the public. Some may enjoy the attention, but the celebrities who’ve managed to thrive in the spotlight for longer than 15 minutes are usually very discreet about how they share their business, if at all. Jay Z and Beyoncé seem to have mastered the art of keeping people interested in their lives while sharing as little of themselves as possible outside of their music. Sadly, the Carter-Knowles clan is a rare exception.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is 50 Cent. The rapper and actor hasn’t met a meme, feud or snarky comment he didn’t like. And a quick glance at his Instagram proves that, at this point, he’s addicted to the attention that comes along with being social media’s biggest instigator. Though almost everything he posts seems to cross the line into bad taste, his latest attack, on his estranged 17-year-old son Marquise and Marquise’s mother Shaniqua Tompkins, is especially troubling.
While 50 has frequently traded shots with Tompkins on social media over the years, an Instagram post on Monday counting down the days until his final child support payment for his first born show’s it’s time for an intervention.
Fif’s son shot back at his child support post with a subtle comment that suggests the almost-18-year-old inherited Fif’s gift for pettiness. Marquise quickly replied to the flick that was meant to embarrass him and his mom with a zinger of his own: “Don’t worry I’ll make u proud,” Marquise typed to his dad, “Just don’t forget to tell me happy birthday that day cause you missed a few.”
The digital bickering is especially disappointing since, just six months ago, it looked like 50 and Marquise were on the road to reuniting. After almost five years of not speaking to his son, 50 left a cryptic comment on one of his Marquise’s photos that was either awkward encouragement for the future, or stealth-level shade from the past.“You will be 20 in a few months I’m happy to see you in good spirits. You be strong out there on your own boy. You are a grown man now.”
Whether 50 was celebrating his son’s march into adulthood and independence, or taking a subtle jab at he and his mom’s financial dependence on him is unclear. But Marquise’s response showed that while there’s still some bad blood, at least they care enough to keep it subliminal. “Didn’t think you knew how old I was u missed a few birthdays,” he wrote. “I’m happy to see you have kind words to say to me this time.”
So why can’t celebs like 50, Future and Ciara keep it civil for the sake of their families? Is it the need to be right in the eyes of the public? Or is it all for publicity? Are the theatrics to save face, or increase followers? And does anyone actually care about the kids’ well-being?
Being a good parent is tough enough already, but doing it as a public figure requires another level of discipline. That’s if you care about raising healthy, functional children. The tabloid games that 50 has engaged in with his ex and their son are just as destructive as the cold war we’ve witnessed Future and Ciara subject their son to. And if you think the kids stuck in the middle are either too young to understand or savvy members of Generation Z who aren’t phased by a little social media theatrics, think again.
This piece by Shameka Erby gives some insight into what Baby Future — and even grown Marquise — must be going through. Like all children, celebrities’ off-spring did not choose their circumstance. While 50, Future and Tyga’s sons are all more financially secure than most of their peers, they are being subjected to emotional trauma that comes with real consequences. Not only do they have to deal with having their private lives dissected by the public, they also have to compete with paying fans for the attention and affection of their parents.
Given 50’s rough upbringing, it would be tough for him to empathize with any so-called hardship his son may be going through. But that’s what parents are for, and great ones will sacrifice their pride and ego to help their kid work through whatever they may be going through. While 50 may be off the hook for financial support when his son turns 18, he has a lot of catching up to do as far as emotional support. Hopefully he realizes that before the burning bridge between he and his son goes all the way up in smoke.