'Tis the time for the morbid and macabre, and one Kanye West just set the bar pretty high with his 40th birthday present to wife Kim Kardashian West.
On Thursday night Kardashian West shared a video of West's birthday gift to her on Twitter, with a caption reading: "For my birthday, Kanye got me the most thoughtful gift of a lifetime. A special surprise from heaven. A hologram of my dad. It is so lifelike! We watched it over and over, filled with emotion." The video showed the filmy projection of the reality star's late father, Robert Kardashian, who was wearing a khaki suit, saying things like "I watch over you," recalling memories of Kim as a child, and dancing to Barry Mann. As one does.
As you'd expect, the video has caused quite a stir on social media. Many are calling the mere idea of the projected spectre flat-out creepy. Others think that the really chilling aspect of the hologram is the fact that West programmed the deceased man to say things like, "You married the most, most, most, most, most genius man in the whole world, Kanye West." But, there's an even more disturbing element to the whole thing: This gift is yet another display of grotesque wealth that has surrounded Kardashian West's birthday.
Earlier this week, the reality star faced backlash when she posted about her 40th birthday vacation. Kardashian West tweeted, "After 2 weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time." While the post did lead to many very funny memes (never a bad thing), by exposing how Kardashian West's extreme wealth has protected her from the horrors of the pandemic, it also caused justifiable outrage on social media for its crass obliviousness. Now, the post about the hologram has stirred up similar conversations, because: How much does a hologram even cost? Well, we did some digging.
According to the 3D holographic projection company, Arena 3D-Industrial-Illusion, there are several different elements needed for a hologram of this nature: foil, tension, bounce screen, projection, truss, drapes, computer controller, and a stage. There are also shipping and set-up fees. Arena 3D-Industrial-Illusion has a full page of pricing info on its website, and according to that, the cost of each projection depends on its size. Projections start at 13 x 13 feet, which cost at minimum around $18,113. The largest projection they have full pricing info for is 13 x 32 feet. That would likely cost around $32,453 (£25,069). Of course, West may have also rented out an arena for the hologram, which would be an additional expense.
Depending on the service West used to, uh, raise the dead (shudder), it could have actually cost far more. Back in 2013, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre had a hologram image of Tupac performing with them during their Coachella set. The hologram's curator Nick Smith of AV Concepts told MTV, a comparable one would cost anywhere from $100,000 (£77,000) to $400,000 (£309,000) to pull off. If that's how much Kanye paid for this most ephemeral of gifts, people should be outraged. A lot of good could come from donating that amount of money to the right places, instead of using it to get beyond-the-grave praise from your wife's dead father.