Kim & Kanye Are To Blame For North West's 'Awful' Simba Performance — But She Deserved That Standing Ovation For Doing Her Best

Kim and Kanye may have done a huge disservice to North by allowing her to appear in the production over thousands of other kids with more experience.

kim kardashian and kanye west Tinseltown | DFree | Shutterstock

With famous and well-connected parents like Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, their eldest daughter, North West, has been allowed into spaces within the entertainment industry that many adults would only dream of accessing. 

However, after North's recent performance for the "Lion King" anniversary concert at the Hollywood Bowl over Memorial Day weekend, many were left unimpressed by the 10-year-old's stage debut.


North West was cast as Simba in 'The Lion King' concert with the help of Kim and Kanye.

During the May 24 and May 25 production of Disney's "The Lion King" live-to-film concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, North played a Young Simba singing "I Just Can't Wait To Be King" from the animated film for its 30th anniversary. A smiling and elated North West wore a yellow fuzzy hooded sweatshirt with matching shorts, socks, and furry slippers.

The production at the Hollywood Bowl was not the same as the infamous Broadway show but rather an appreciation performance featuring songs from the animated movie and appearances from cast members from the 1994 movie and 2019 remake. Among those featured "special guests," like North, were singer/actress Jennifer Hudson and original cast member Nathan Lane. 

@extra_tv North West performs in “The Lion King” at the Hollywood Bowl! 🦁🎶 (Wait to see Kris Jenner at the end! ☺️)🎥: @jackthestenographer#northwest #kimkardashian #kanyewest #kardashians #krisjenner #thelionking #hollywoodbowl ♬ original sound - ExtraTV

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In attendance were North's parents, Kim and Kanye, along with Chicago, Psalm, and Saint. Kim celebrated her eldest daughter's debut by sharing images and behind-the-scenes videos of North with her castmates as they got ready for the show. However, shortly after clips began circulating online of North's performance, discourse about nepotism and people's unimpressed reactions to her lackluster role in the production started emerging.

People argued that the only reason North was even cast as Simba was because her parents are Kim and Kanye, who reportedly pulled strings and "paid" to have their daughter in the production. "I’m sorry, but casting North West as Simba when there are hundreds of properly trained theatre kids with voice coaches, dance skills, and experience was a HORRIBLE choice. It definitely makes you question the credibility of the casting director," one critic commented on X.


"Now I love me some North West, but there must have been a handful of truly talented 10-11-year-olds [that] would have been a better Simba because they spent [years] working on their craft," a second person added.

A parent of a child who auditioned for North's part in the production spoke out against her being cast as Simba.

In a TikTok video, a mother named Jenny Matthews expressed her discontent with North West's casting in "The Lion King" Hollywood Bowl performance, pointing out that nepotism and being able to exist in rooms because of her parent's wealth and fame was the only reason why the 10-year-old appeared on that stage. Instead of having talent and working hard, which is what the other children who auditioned for Young Simba had.

"My extremely talented and gorgeous daughter auditioned for the role of Simba in this production of 'The Lion King' at the Hollywood Bowl," Matthews recalled. "We were so excited for her to get this audition."

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Matthews' daughter has been on Broadway several times and has had parts in various TV and film productions. She had more than enough experience and talent to take on the role of Simba, and Matthews was confident that she'd eventually get it. After going through an initial audition and rounds of callbacks, Matthews' daughter and three other girls were left in the final round.

However, while Matthews and her daughter were waiting in the audition room with another little girl and her mother, Kim Kardashian, and North West suddenly walked in. Matthews recalled hearing that someone in the industry was pulling strings to get their daughter in front of the casting director, but she didn't find out that it was North and Kim until that final audition.

It was an instant punch in the gut, knowing that Simba's part was automatically going to North without her daughter even participating in the final round of auditions. "We had heard that they wanted to cast a talented kid with some good experience but one that doesn't have a name."


"We thought my daughter was that person," Matthews continued. "Kim Kardashian allegedly paid for her daughter to be in this production, and her daughter does not have experience in this role. It is extremely disappointing."

Turns out, Matthews' audition recounting was satire, but the sentiment still rang true. There were other kids that likely deserved the part more than North, and worked a whole lot harder to even be considered.

Kim and Kanye are the ones to blame for North's 'awful' performance, but she deserved a standing ovation for doing her best.

It's no secret that much of Hollywood operates primarily on the connections you have and the people you know. Nepotism is not new and has been a source of frustration and criticism for quite some time.

However, all of this backlash and hate that is being directed toward North isn't fair when you realize that she's just a little girl who jumped at the opportunity to appear on stage and perform. It's not her fault that she was born into a family of wealth, fame, and privilege. She's simply following in the footsteps of her own interest and truly did her best on that stage, earning herself that standing ovation.


It's Kim and Kanye's duty as North's parents to fuel her passions and encourage her to follow any dreams she may have, but it's also their job to prepare her. Instead of providing her with the necessary skills and experience, they simply used their money and connections to get her in that production, which isn't fair to the thousands of other talented kids who worked twice as hard as North did and have made careers out of performing but were overlooked in favor of a more notable name.

@originalkandicekellynews Privilege minus talent North West at the Hollywood Bowl Lion King 30 Year Anniversary #lionking #northwest #simba #fyp #fy #fypシ゚viral #simba #fyp ♬ original sound - Original Kandice Kelly News

It can be tricky to navigate raising children in the spotlight, but as a celebrity parent, it's so important to teach your children the value of humility, sacrifice, and hard work. It would be an incredible disservice if North was raised believing that things should just be handed to her because her last name is West, and she comes from an influential family. 


If she wanted to get on that stage and play Simba, she should've been encouraged to work for that role, whether that meant taking singing or dancing lessons or starring in more productions to gain experience. 

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.