Wish the Kardashians would go away? Keep wishing. "There's something palpably too big to fail about the Kardashians these days," writes Zan Romanoff in a lengthy profile at Racked. The story traces the clan's rise, showing how the sisters have gone from making a buck by licensing their names to creating their own wildly successful businesses outright. That's especially true in the world of beauty. Consider that Kylie Jenner's company, Kylie Cosmetics, is on track to become a billion-dollar company by 2022. And Kylie, of course, runs a distant second in terms of personal wealth to sister Kim Kardashian. One thing of note: Romanoff makes the case that the Kardashians nearly imploded in 2011 when Kim's marriage to Kris Humphries collapsed in 72 days and people clamored for E! to scrap their show. What saved them? "Enter Kanye West."
West "offered the Kardashians a more comprehensible, art-based star power that they had previously lacked, and his insistence on his own genius loaned them credibility in the fashion world," writes Romanoff. He and Kim were a "perfect" combination, and their "cultural power was so potent that it seemed to transcend class. They were simply riveting." It's generally been all uphill since for the family. The story tracks not only the endless business lines but the similarly endless accusations that the sisters rip off others' products; it also delves into charges that the sisters, Kim in particular, engage in "subtle" blackface by appropriating African-American beauty themes. (For instance, they sport "boxer braids," merely a different term for cornrows worn by black women for generations, writes Romanoff.) The scandals, however, never seem to stick. Click to read the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)