THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous

When I read stories like the one below, I wonder about the life lessons learned (or not learned) by children of the rich. I wonder what it's like to be born into wealth, especially when it's vast wealth, and never be placed in a position where you're forced to consider what your life would be like otherwise.

Of course I realize that I'm making a sweeping generalization about children of wealthy families, since there are some who do learn valuable lessons about what it takes to achieve the kind of success, and attain the kind of wealth that their parents/grand-parents/great grand-parents, etc, have been able to - essentially the hard work involved, resources spent, and sacrifices made, for example. However, it has to be comforting knowing that you already have and will likely always have that financial cushion to fall back on if/when necessary.

What's it like to never have to go wanting? To be able to live out your materialistic dreams? To have other human beings at your beck and call, either because you're paying them to be, or because they are essentially your "groupies" attracted not necessarily to you, but to your wealth, and what a relationship with you, no matter how false, can do for them?

From the moment you are born, you're showered with things, things and more things... and often the influences on your life, whether your parents, other family members, or friends, etc, are just as attracted to things, and more things, and you grow up in an environment that teaches you how important "things" are, maybe even more important than life itself. And the destructive lesson is passed on from one generation to the next.

Maybe it's easy for me to play armchair critic... after all, their world isn't one that I'm entirely familiar with. It's a seductive space to exist in, given the kind of world in which we live, and I suppose I can understand how addicting wealth can be. Why would you want to jump the fence when the grass is undoubtedly greener on your side?

As I was browsing through news stories this hot Saturday morning in New York City, I came across this short article on the divorce and custody agreement between Hip-Hop mogul and all-around business man, Russell Simmons and his now ex-wife, Kimora Lee Simmons. According to the write-up, their 2 children, 8-year old Ming Lee and 5-year old Aoki Simmons will receive $20,000 each per month in child support from their father, Russell, per an agreement filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The monthly checks will come until 2019 for Ming Lee, and 2022 for Aoki, when each will be 19 1/2 years old. I thought 18 was the usual age limit for this kind of thing.

But that's not all. The article states that Russell must provide a car worth at least $60,000 for each daughter, AND (here's the kicker) the vehicle must be replaced every two years. Wow! Even more interesting, Kimora Lee, 33, is asking for primary custody of the kids and that Russell, 50, be granted "reasonable child visitation – accompanied at all times by the children's nanny and security personnel."

Sounds ominous. What I want to know is, who the hell was Russell's attorney? Geez! This doesn't look like they put up much of a fight! Then again, maybe he's content with the agreement and that's that!

This obviously isn't the first time I've read about awesome alimony or child support agreements, so nothing terribly new here. Like I said, it's a world unfamiliar to me. Russell obviously has the money otherwise the courts wouldn't place the demand on him. It's my understanding that child support payments aren't necessarily based on the needs of the child (what child really needs $20,000 per month) but rather on the net wealth of the parent. I'm sure there've been child support payment agreements that trump this one!

Working through calculations in my head - that's $240,000 per year each, for an 8-year old and a 5-year old - for total of close to half a million dollars, meaning each of them could have at least $2.4 Million saved up by the time they are 18. That number could be significantly higher if the money is invested well, and the economy steadies. And that's where the mother, Kimora Lee's influence will be vital. Will the money be spent on buying things, things and more things for them as they grow up, or will the money be saved and/or properly invested, along with lessons taught to them about the importance of saving one's excesses. Or how about donating some of the money to those mothers who really need the financial help for their children, because they can barely afford life's basic necessities. Wishful thinking on my part, but anything is possible, right? Maybe Kimora or Russell read this blog :o)


Here's the Washington Post article.

4 comments:

  1. Undercover Black Man said...
     

    Dang. Russell got boned.

  2. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Yeah, Mr Simmons does come off sounding like a bit of a mug but your comment that he might be content with the agreement might just be truer than you realise.

    As far as I know, he's a lot less materialistic - these days, anyway - than his ex-wife. A devout practitioner of yoga for some years now, from an article I read a couple of years ago, he seems to hanker after a somewhat more zen lifestyle than his former wife. As such, it would make sense that he wouldn't hang on to material wealth just to spite his wife, particularly as the welfare of his children is involved.

    As outlandish as their 'needs' might be to the average joe, their happiness is probably more important to him than his need to hang on to his wealth. With any luck, they'll somehow learn to appreciate the uniqueness of their positions in life and understand that 'things' are not necessarily the stuff happiness is made of. Mind you, that's a lesson even us ordinary folk seem to have a hard time learning...

  3. The Obenson Report said...
     

    Their happiness should be more important to him that his wealth. But I certainly hope that he doesn't equate happiness with money. Also, the supervised visits with his children is odd. Usually that means someone (in this case, the wife) thinks he could do something to harm her or the kids? Like maybe snatch the kids and take off, or something like that, which really doesn't sound like something he of all people would do. So, I'm puzzled. It doesn't all entirely make sense to me. There must be a few other things we don't know about.

  4. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    I don't think he equates happiness with money, but I think he recognises that his ex does, and that giving in to her absurd demands is no skin off his nose, particuarly where his daughers are concerned.

    As to the supervised visits... Yes, it does sound strange, but I'm amazed at the stories I've heard about women who use their children to get back at their ex husband/partner. I've seen a grown man cry just talking about how he's not allowed to see his kids whenever he wants but how he's forced to live like a pauper in order to fund his wife's lifestyle... of course, it's all done in the name of the welfare of the children.

    I've heard of a man accused of raping his ex partner...! But still, said woman quite happily hangs out with her supposed rapist and asks favours of him, for their daughters sake, of course.

    It's a sad world when children are used as pawns and/or gold-digging shovels.

    Of course, if there is something potentially sinister or shady about his possible conduct towards his children...

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