The term beauty guru is not new. Since the term's beginning, it's been used to describe mediocre makeup artists who somehow win over audiences through the camera. Zoella could apply a simple brown eye shadow with a bold red lip but her quirky, cute personality was what attracted viewers and kept them there. Constant attempts at recreating iconic looks by Kim Kardashian took over YouTube saturating the web space with bold liner and cut crease tutorials.
Over the years, the innocence and simplicity of being a beauty guru was lost. With Kylie Jenner serving as inspiration, lip fillers, Botox, and bright coloured wigs became the norm on YouTube. Soon, we were seeing Instagram models who knew how to pick up an eyebrow pencil filming GWRM's, morning routines, nighttime routines, etc. With that came the constant fear of falling off, not being interesting or unique enough which threw beauty gurus into a very nasty, spiteful competition.
In a world where beauty YouTubers could gain millions of subscribers, dollars, and followers just for applying a "natural makeup look", certain gurus did manage to stand out. These gurus dominated YouTube with their talent, creativity, and attractive personalities, setting the blueprint for what it takes to become a millionaire off a good foundation routine and on fleek eyebrows; NikkieTutorials, Carlie Bybel, Jaclyn Hill, Jeffrey Star, James Charles, Glam&Gore, MannyMUA, and a few more must definitely be named. In 2018, these are the YouTubers running the industry, either by knocking down anyone in their way or bringing up the people around them.
With that being said, it's important to note just how far the influence of these beauty gurus goes. As of August 16th 2018, Jeffree Star for example is sitting at 9,520,688 subscribers having gained over 11,000 in a day and 1.6 million in a month. James Charles is sitting at 7,408,834 subscribers, having gained 8,000 in a day and 920,000 in a month (source: Social Blade). The numbers are not very different for the other mentioned beauty gurus although it's relevant to take into consideration that some of these YouTubers are more popular than others.
With an influence that big, you would expect these YouTubers to be cautious about the things they post, say, and do. Yet, for some reason, it seems that every other week, there's a new story that comes out with proof that one of them did or said something racist. Most recently, we saw the exposure of Laura Lee whose old racist tweets had resurfaced, as well as a tweet by Gabby Zamora where he had used the N-word. In both cases, it appeared that the two gurus were making race jokes in an attempt to be funny which clearly backfired. The tweets were most certainly distasteful but they were not violent and didn't seem to have an ill intent. Regardless, the Internet was quick to "cancel" them.
The issue with this "cancellation" however, lies in the fact that it is Jeffree Star's predominantly white fan base who are bringing up these racist tweets but not because they're offensive towards black people, but because they're apparently hypocritical towards Jeffree's whole racist past situation. To elaborate, although from a surface layer, it appears that the Internet is cancelling them with good reason, when you dive deeper into the situation, it's mainly Jeffree Star's white as snow fans that are sending the hate and doing the cancelling. If you recall, once upon a time, Jeffree Star, Laura Lee, MannyMUA, Nikita Dragun, and Gabby Zamora were all the best of friends; they were inseparable and they were constantly seen in each other's videos. That is, until one day, the shade began, and the group was divided with what appeared to be Jeffree Star on one end, and the other 4 on the opposite end. This breakup left fans divided with many staying and/or joining team Jeffree because, as I previously mentioned, he fits all the criteria to be a successful beauty guru. Additionally, Jeffree did an excellent job of victimizing himself ultimately drawing fans further away from the other four and right into his manipulative hands.
In the past, we've seen horrible videos of Jeffree Star shouting out obscenities at women, calling them "niggers", "bitches", "skanks", and more, as well as creating a fake character to mimic and imitate the ghetto black woman. When the videos surfaced, Jeffree apologized, cried a little bit, and made up all kinds of excuses for it which eventually led the Internet to forgive him and moved on because "it happened ten years ago". That said, it was mainly his white supporters who forgave him because, as we all know, white people tend to do a lot of forgiving on behalf of black people when it's not asked for. We saw how badly Kim Kardashian West got dragged by the black community when she told Jeffree Star haters to "just get over it", and it seems his white fans are repeating Kim's actions. This is, in turn, problematic because it upholds the foundations that allow systematic racism to thrive by silencing the voices of black folk and prioritizing the voices of white people instead.
With that in mind, Gabby Zamora took to Twitter to expose Jeffree claiming that the Jeffree Star Cosmetics owner is still a racist who constantly uses racial slurs. As a response, instead of questioning why Jeffree still uses racial slurs, followers just found the one, single tweet from years ago where Gabby used the word "nigga" to attack and cancel him. Although it's important that Gabby understands why using this word is problematic, Jeffree Star fans are taking advantage of the situation to defend Jeffree's past and paint Gabby as a villain. This is all because the Mexican-American YouTuber took it upon himself to let fans know that their beloved Jeffree is indeed still the same problematic racist he was 10 years ago. Evidently, Jeffree fans missed the mark because they treated Laura Lee with the same response as Gabby; cancelled for being a hypocrite, not because they might be racist.
In recent weeks, Shane Dawson, another controversial YouTuber, who has also mimicked black women for entertainment, did a 5 part docu-series on Jeffree Star. In the series, Shane made sure Jeffree was portrayed in a vulnerable, almost victimized, more humanistic light. In the videos, Jeffree explains why he had lashed out and used racial slurs, excusing his behaviour on the fact that he was just in a really bad place - interesting excuse for racism. Now, for a split second, Jeffree and Shane crying over that pitiful time in Jeffree's life, as well as the sad music and flashbacks, really did make the millionaire beauty guru seem remorseful of his racist past. That is until you look at his track record in recent years because it seems not much has changed. From calling Black beauty gurus, Jackie Aina and MakeupShayla, rats and threatening to beat them up to getting exposed by Gabby for still using racial slurs, it seems the multi-million dollar brand owner is simply trying to save face and somehow, he's actually managed to convince his followers that he's a changed person. The evidence of his disgusting behaviour is all over the Internet and no amount of crying, docu-series, or apologizing can change that.
Unfortunately, his fans seem to follow cult-like tendencies similar to many other fandoms leading to a lack in proper judgement. Popular gossip YouTube channel, Tea Spill, even released a 3 part series on MannyMUA, Gabby Zamora, Nikita Dragun, and Laura Lee practically dismissing Jeffree's racist past all because the other four are "hypocrites". That said, if Jeffree's followers actually cancelled him for being racist the same way they're cancelling Gabby Zamora and Laura Lee for being hypocrites, it'd be interesting to see what becomes of Jeffree Star. The mogul is most definitely aware of how heavily he relies on his impressionable followers and if he loses them, he loses everything.
Let's not forget that multi-million dollar company he's sitting on.
September 10, 2018
August 17, 2018