Lily Allen has weighed in on the conversation surrounding “nepo babies,” arguing that she believes kids with famous, well-connected parents are scapegoats of a larger system failure.
The “Smile” singer, 37, is a nepo baby herself, as her dad Keith Allen is an actor who’s appeared in movies like Trainspotting, and her mom Alison Owen has produced films like The Other Boleyn Girl. Allen’s brother, Alfie, is an Emmy-nominated actor who starred on Game of Thrones as Theon Greyjoy.
After a New York magazine cover story sparked a nepo baby discussion on Monday, Allen shared her thoughts on Twitter, writing that many nepo babies spend their childhoods “starved” of basic things like “stability and love,” and that she doesn’t think the entertainment business is “parent friendly.”
“It can be hard to see one’s own privilege when you’re still processing childhood trauma, and a lot of these kids haven’t figured that out yet,” she wrote. “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.”
When someone responded that nepotism “does a huge disservice to poorer artistic communities,” Allen agreed that a more fair society would “create more opportunity.”
“People wouldn’t have to choose financial security if the industries i listed above didn’t rig the system against them,” she wrote. “That was kind of my point.”
Another user asked Allen why both of her parents had their own Wikipedia pages, and she replied that it was because she is a nepo baby — but that “I will be the first to tell you that I literally deserve nothing… I just think that wealth inequality is the real problem when we’re talking about lack of opportunity.”
Allen wrote that she felt it was important to be open about the ways in which her privileged upbringing opened many doors for her, something she’d shied away from in her younger years because of her “fraught relationship” with some family members and a desire to feel that she’d earned her success.
“It is quite clear that there is a severe lack of representation in the industry where class and race are concerned. Everyone loses as a result,” she wrote.
The Grammy-nominated star went on to say that the point she was trying to make was that she felt as though nepo babies were becoming something of a scapegoat for a bigger conversation that should be had about “wealth inequality [and] lack of programs and funding.”
“I promise you I’m not rooting for an industry full of people that had childhoods that looked like mine,” she wrote. “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.”
Allen broke through in the music industry in 2006 with her debut album Alright, Still. A Guardian article published that same year said that Allen did use her dad’s contacts to land her first record deal in 2002, but that she left the label before releasing any music with them and later found more success without his help.
The subject of nepo babies became a hot topic thanks to New York‘s recent cover story, titled “How a Nepo Baby Is Born.” The article covered an exhaustive roster of nepo babies with well-connected parents, including Dakota Johnson, Jack Quaid, Maya Hawke, Lily Collins, Zoe Kravitz and Ben Platt.