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Music writers across the country woke up in a state of intense sleep deprivation Friday morning following the late-night unveiling of the latest iteration of Kanye West’s Donda. And while there is plenty to unpack with regards to who was chosen to join West for the Chicago event, creative direction for which was again handled by Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga and Vetements fame, the appearance of Kim Kardashian during the final moments was perhaps the most unexpected inclusion of all.
For those who caught the full event via Apple Music, it’s not news that Kardashian—notably wearing what Paper’s Mario Abad points out was the finale gown from Balenciaga’s haute couture collection, which debuted in July during an event attended by West—made a slow walk toward West at the end of the movie-length livestream. Shortly before the surprise appearance of Kardashian in a wedding-style dress, West was depicted as having set himself on fire inside a recreation of his childhood home.
Some fans genuinely theorized that this moment in the new Donda experience is a sign the couple is “back together” in the traditional sense, with others joking that the moment felt like witnessing a remarriage. A new report from TMZ, however, appears to clarify that the late Thursday night reunion was simply a show of support woven into a larger intended narrative.
The report in question cites “sources with direct knowledge” as having told the publication on multiple occasions over the past few weeks that the former couple is “NOT back together” but is instead going for a “forever family” approach. Per TMZ, both have long supported each other in their respective pursuits and are aiming to continue doing so moving forward. Additionally, Kardashian was reportedly “happy to do it” due to the fact that the Donda event was a particularly important one for West.
Among those also enlisted to appear during the Soldier Field performance piece were DaBaby, who’s been widely condemned for his recent homophobic remarks, and Marilyn Manson. The latter has been accused of abuse by multiple women, including Evan Rachel Wood.
At the time of this writing, the album Donda—which may now no longer include a Jay-Z verse—had still not been officially released.