Kanye West has raised the present buying stakes for couples around the world, gifting his wife Kim Kardashian a hologram of her late father for her 40th birthday.
Kim shared a video of the holographic resurrection with her hundreds of millions of social media followers calling it “the most thoughtful gift of a lifetime” and a “special surprise from heaven”.
It shows an impressive digital likeness of her dad, Robert Kardashian, who died of oesophageal cancer in 2003 aged 59.
A well-known lawyer, he became a household name in America when he represented OJ Simpson during his 1995 murder trial.
In his holographic message, Robert who is dressed in a beige suit and open necked white shirt, tells Kim: “I am so proud of the woman that you’ve become.”
He praises her as a businesswoman, a mother and for her support of Armenia, the country his family originally hailed from.
He also says he is touched by Kim’s decision to carry on his legacy and pursue a career in law.
Kim started a four-year apprenticeship to become a criminal justice lawyer with a firm in San Francisco in 2018 and plans to take her exams in 2022.
The two minute 20 second video begins with Robert directly addressing his daughter and saying: “Happy birthday, Kimberly. Look at you, you’re 40 and all grown up. You look beautiful just like when you were a little girl.
“I watch over you and your sisters and brother and the kids every day.”
He describes driving Kim to school in his “little Mercedes” while listening to the Barry Mann track Who Put The Bomp together. At this point the hologram even does a little dance.
He goes on: “I am so proud of the woman that you’ve become Kimberly and all that you’ve accomplished. All of your hard work and all of the businesses you have built are incredible. But most impressive is your commitment to become a lawyer and carry on my legacy.
“It’s a long and a hard road but it’s worth it. And I am with you every step of the way.”
The message also gives the seal of approval to Kim’s choice of husband: “The most beautiful thing I have witnessed is watching you grow your family. You married the most, most, most, most, most genius man in the whole world, Kanye West.”
The flourish points to West having had a hand in the scripting in at least part of the birthday message.
It goes on: “You are the most, most, most, most amazing mother to your four beautiful children and they are perfect.
“Keep doing what you are doing, Kimberly, you are a beautiful soul. Know that I’m very proud of you and I’m always with you. I have built a firewall around our family. I love you, Kimberly.”
Kim said she didn’t have the words to describe how meaningful the gift was to her and her family, and said they watched the message “over and over”.
Kaleida – the company who made Kim’s hologram – say they specialise in “Hollywood blockbusters and major theatrical shows” and use “a combination of performance, motion tracking, SFX, VFX and DeepFake technologies to resurrect pop singers, heads of state and historical figures”.
Their website says the performance took place in Tahiti, where Kim is believed to have celebrated her birthday on a private island with her “closest inner circle”.
Her trip was criticised for being “insensitive” and “tone deaf” by some social media users who questioned both the safety and lavish nature of the event during a worldwide pandemic.
Robert Kardashian is not the first high-profile figure to find themselves reincarnated in hologram form.
He follows in the footsteps of stars including Tupac, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, all of whom have performed for fans posthumously.
It’s likely the Robert Kardashian hologram was created using a 200-year-old technique called “Pepper’s ghost”.
Named after the English scientist John Henry Pepper, it is made by projecting a two-dimensional image in such a way that it gives the illusion you’re looking at a live person standing on a stage in a three-dimensional space.