Your White Opinion on Jeffree Star Doesn't Matter
The Concept of Forgiveness
On August 13th, the Morphe X Jeffree Star artistery eyeshadow palette launched, which is exactly two days before the release of Jackie Aina’s collaboration with Anastasia Beverly Hills for her own eyeshadow palette. To be very honest, I do not care for Jeffree Star, at all. Jackie, on the other hand, is one of my biggest inspirations and so I will not even try to be impartial in this discussion. However, I cannot help myself but be very curious as to why Jackie’s collab was so heavily criticized by many, people insinuating that she did not deserve it, and that ABH should have given this opportunity to another youtuber (*insert here a list of all the White beauty gurus on youtube.*) Once I recognized that pattern in people’s opinions, I then started wondering how come Jeffree Star’s collab didn’t receive such backlash and how come his empire is only getting bigger and bigger regardless of his shady past. Now the answer to that last question is pretty easy: not many people ever had an issue with his past, or perhaps… they ''forgave'' him.
The title of this article is correct: your White opinion on Jeffree Star does not matter; and I will tell you why.
If by any chance you are not familiar with Jeffree Star, he is a 33-year-old entrepreneur who created his own cosmetic brand and is also a beauty guru on Youtube. He is close to hitting the 16 million subscribers mark, making him the second most subscribed to beauty guru behind James Charles who got back to number one quite recently after the drama he was involved in. Just like many people who had access to the internet in their teens and early adulthood, he was put on blast for, you guessed it, racist comments he had made in the past. When videos and skits came out of the dark corners of MySpace, Star was then put under the spotlight. He did apologized in a series of tweets in 2016, apologies that mainly consisted of saying ‘‘I am sorry YOU were offended by what I said,’’ which, by the way, is very different from, ‘‘I am sorry I said these things, they were wrong because of these, these and these reasons.’’ However, regardless of how sincere or not his apology was, I am not learning you anything when I say that actions speak louder than words, and that is exactly what happened in that situation.
One of the memorable skits I remember seeing was one showing Jeffree and a friend of his who is using an accent that could be associated with ‘‘ghetto Black women.’’ In the clip, Jeffree uses the term ‘‘Black b*tch’’ twice and jokes about throwing battery acid on a Black girl’s face to make her skin lighter.
There is also that video of him, in a car, chasing a Black woman walking down the street to yell at her the N-word multiple times, with a full ‘‘er’’ ending. I’d say ‘‘yikes,’’ but this is clearly more than just a ‘‘yikes’’ moment.
When other youtubers started to say they didn’t want to be associated with him anymore, disagreeing with these obviously disgusting things, one person in particular got dragged way more heavily than others: Jackie Aina. Jeffree called her a rat and a gorilla after blocking her on Twitter and on Instagram. He pretended it had nothing to do with the ‘‘Anti Haul’’ Jackie had posted on her channel about a month prior where she stated, very maturely and respectfully, that she would not be purchasing anything from Star’s cosmetic brand. Insulting Black people by saying they are animals is, in my opinion, so unoriginal as this type of insult has been around for centuries, but also just a proof that he did not change. When a Black woman respectfully says that she disagrees with the racist comments he made, he straight up blocks her and calls her names? How come he did not do half of this to the non-Black influencers who also came forward and disagreed with his comments? That, I am wondering.
And I won’t even get into the even worse apology video he uploaded in 2017, which, to summarize, was basically him saying that he was bullied for being gay and for liking make up and so he had to spill that rage onto someone else, and so he chose Black women to do so.
Now that we have set the table on his past, let’s get to where we are now and more precisely on why your opinion on this whole thing can only matter to a certain point.
When I hear White people say that they support Jeffree Star because they ‘‘forgave’’ him, it always makes me confused. To say such thing, you would need to understand the concept of forgiveness, which you clearly don’t.
In order to forgive someone, you need two things: first, to be the victim of an offense (no matter how small or big it is), and second, you need to move from a stage of pain or anger onto a stage of love, acceptance or even indifference.
If you are a White, or even a non-Black person of colour who has ‘‘forgiven’’ Jeffree Star, well you are falling short on the first criterion right away. What I mean by that is that Star’s comments were made exclusively on Black women, his comments were racist, but more specifically anti Black, meaning that they affected Black people. Unless you are Black, these comments were never made to offend you. Can you be an ally? Absolutely. Can you stand with Black people and disagree with these horrible things that were said? Of course. But remember your place and don’t talk over the concerned people, AKA Black people. While it is possible to be an ally, is it possible to shut down Black people’s opinion on what is and isn’t racist? Not so much. Of course, we live in a free society and you can say whatever you want, whenever you want, Jeffree himself proved it to us very clearly. However, it is important for you to sit down and think about that because, well, it low key sucks. As a non-Black person, telling Black people to get over things is not your job, at all, and it is frankly rude. You cannot ‘‘forgive’’ him because his comments were never about you, his ‘‘apologies’’ weren’t for you and so whether you accept them or not, simply doesn’t matter. Picture this: If every few months, I was going to this bakery owned by this person who used to bully you and your friends, using the excuse that they apologized to you and that I accepted their apology, you’d probably be mad. In that scenario, it makes no sense for me to declare valid the apology of someone who has caused wrong to a group of people I am not at all a part of. This scenario is exactly the same as this one. Jeffree Star has made racist comments about Black women, yet, everybody who isn’t Black, and therefore who were never concerned, run to give him the white flag; again, this makes no sense.
The second point is also another one that is very logical when you sit down and actually think about it. If you were always a fan of Jeffree and your opinion of him barely changed when these videos came back, you cannot ‘‘forgive’’ him. As mentioned earlier, forgiveness comes with a change in emotion and in perception. It comes from seeing someone as one way and then seeing them as another way after they have proven to have changed. If you liked him before and during the drama, no matter how Oscar or Razzie worthy his apology could have been, it would have never changed anything! When you are not mad at someone, can you forgive them… ? That makes no sense! And when I say mad, I mean truly disappointed. If you were just like ‘‘oh noooo, let me put this liquid lipstick in my basket, that’s so saaaad, here are my card info, I am maaaad,’’ then you simply were not, and therefore were never in the position to forgive him anything.
From my personal experience, most of the people who forgave Jeffree Star miss both of the ‘‘forgiveness criteria.’’ They are usually White or non-Black people of color, and they never stopped liking Jeffree Star and so still do. Does that mean you’re a bad person if you love his lipsticks? Of course not. As absurd as it may seem, I know many people in my personal life who buy his products and I also enjoy the content of youtubers who publicly and financially support him. I don’t think you should argue with people as to why you support him every time someone asks you what highlighter you’re wearing, and it happens to be a Supreme Frost. However, I think it is important and crucial to give an honest answer if you do decide to start that conversation with someone who isn’t a supporter of Star; simply say the truth: his actions and comments are not a big deal to me. A bit harsh? I mean it is the truth. As previously mentioned, you are not in the position to forgive him for his comments and you most likely were never truly bothered by them, which is exactly what I just said: Jeffree Star’s racism never bothered you.
I want to finish on saying that as a Black woman, I don’t and will never support Jeffree Star in any way, shape or form. Not only has he delivered one of the most mediocre and self centered ‘‘apology’’ in Youtube’s drama history, but he clearly has shown that he hasn’t changed through his actions. Now, some will argue that he advocates for extended shade ranges in complexion products, exposing the blatant colorism and racism present behind many brands that we know and love but, to me, that could very much so be a stunt, as many White and lighter skinned youtubers do the same without really showing their support for dark skinned people.
What should Jeffree Star do so that I can forgive him? Honestly, it doesn’t matter, because I do not really care. My own make up collection is diverse enough that I can keep investing in the brands that I already support. I have personally found my favorite brand of liquid lipsticks (Urban Decay really did that with the Vice collection, girl, check it out) and I have a good amount of highlighters that make my brown skin POP for the gods already so, I’m good not giving him any of my coins.
I am aware that we all have our problematic favs, however, it is very clear to me that Jeffree Star’s past isn’t just one clumsy tweet typed after drinking too many margaritas on a Saturday night. Considering his immense wealth and power, he could use that notoriety to uplift and promote smaller Black creators who are promoting self-love in the beauty community and who are, well, trying to fix the damage he caused. Unfortunately, the guests on his Youtube channel have been exclusively White for two whole years now so… I guess that will have to wait.