Despite an imminent government shutdown, it took only two words for Kanye and Kim Kardashian West to break into the news cycle Friday. As they do.
This time, it was with “Chicago West,” the announcement of the name of their third child, a baby girl born by surrogacy Jan. 15. She joined older siblings North West and Saint West, whose names also received their fair share of scrutiny after they were bequeathed.
Kim tweeted the name Friday afternoon — and the jokes came immediately: Chicago West sounded like the name of a hospital. Would the child’s nickname be “Windy”? Would she always be cold? Kim Kardashian, one person argued, had just out-Kim Kardashianed herself.
But, given that the nation’s third-largest city often finds itself in the news for other, less positive reasons, Chicagoans’ responses to the name of the newest Kardashian West child were mostly good-natured. Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism bureau, immediately approved.
“We congratulate Kim and Kanye on the wonderful addition to their family,” Choose Chicago president David Whitaker said in a statement. “We realize this is a special time for them and we’re thrilled that they’ve chosen a name that represents a city we’re so proud to call home. And, we look forward to welcoming Chicago for her first visit.”
The Chicago Bears and Chicago White Sox also acknowledged the tribute.
The restaurant chain Portillo’s offered the child a lifetime supply of its Chicago-style eats — “redeemable by your parents until you can eat solid foods.”
Even the Windy City’s self-proclaimed cynics begrudgingly voiced their appreciation for the moniker.
Not to be outdone by real life, NBC’s array of Chicago-themed shows — “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago Med” and “Chicago PD” — jumped aboard the Chicago West train, joking it would be “coming soon” to the network.
Jokes aside, the name tribute brought some unexpected positive attention to a city that is perpetually used by politicians as a proxy for conversations about crime, policing and violence. In his first major television interview after taking office, President Trump last year highlighted Chicago’s homicide rate — which had reached a two-decade high — and suggested police and city officials were “not doing the job,” perhaps because they were “being overly politically correct.”
Trump once threatened to “send in the Feds!” and said the city’s crime was “totally out of control,” two of about a half-dozen tweets he has posted over the past year about Chicago. All but one, a tweet welcoming the Chicago Cubs to the White House, were negative.
It’s no wonder the city would welcome such a tribute, even in the form of a celebrity baby name. The announcement prompted a couple of Chicago’s suburbs to try to ride the coattails of the trending topic to promote themselves, with varying degrees of success.
As The Washington Post’s Sonia Rao pointed out, Chicago might actually be a perfect name for Kim and Kanye’s baby for several reasons, not the least of which is Kanye’s deep ties to the city:
After his parents divorced when he was 3, Kanye and his mother, Donda, moved to Chicago. He grew up in Oak Lawn and references the city in his work quite often, most prominently in the 2007 song, “Homecoming.” Featured artist Chris Martin sings about fireworks at Lake Michigan, and Kanye raps about meeting a girl named Windy, a blatant metaphor for the Windy City that could double as a nickname for his child. In case it was not clear, he later raps, “If you don’t know by now, I’m talkin’ ’bout Chi-town.”
Rumor has it the Wests named their first daughter North because she represented a high point in their lives. Saint was reportedly chosen for their second child because he was a blessing after Kim’s difficult pregnancy. Chicago seems to be just as special to the couple.
The rapper Common, a frequent Kanye collaborator who also hails from Chicago, told TMZ that it was a fitting name, and not just because of Kanye’s devotion to Chi-town.
“He deserves to be able to name his child Chicago, for as much as he does for our city, and as much as he loves our city,” Common told the celebrity news site. “And that’s a fresh name for a kid. I love it.”
A spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who also hosts the podcast “Chicago Stories” — did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday morning on the unexpected tip of the hat toward his city.