Jeffree Star stays quiet in the face of controversy

By TORI D'AMICO
On February 19, 2020

Photo courtesy of DVSROSS, Flickr

The internet’s on-and-off-again favorite beauty guru and YouTuber Jeffree Star has once again stirred up drama on the internet following the promotional photos for his recently released eyeshadow palette named “Blood Lust.”

The photo in question pictures Star wearing a purple wig with dreadlocks and waved baby hairs along the edges. Quite the controversy has stirred, as fans have been expressing their concern over the hairstyle, typically worn by those of African American descent. However, this incident is not the first time Star has been the subject of racist allegations.

White people wearing dreadlocks has been an ongoing debate on the internet, which even involved Star years ago. Tweets are being posted on both sides of the argument.

“I’m tired, sis. I’m out here defending you like ‘Jeffree has changed. People learn and grow.’ Then you walk up behind me with cornrows and dreads and making me look like a whole fool,” said Twitter user Brittany Carter.

Shockingly, the majority of tweets online are in support of Star, with fans claiming that dreads are a part of Celtic and Viking culture and therefore not cultural appropriation.

Star posted a video just days later titled, “Addressing The Purple ISSUES.. Blood Lust Palette Tutorial” However, the video contained no reference to the controversy.

Star then proceeded to post a photo on his Snapchat from his Valentine’s Day weekend in Las Vegas, showing off cornrows. Shockingly, the action caused little discussion on Twitter.

Despite the amount of times Star has been accused of cultural appropriation, racism and transphobia, he has managed to avoid the internet’s “cancel culture.”

It is surprising how little this incident was acknowledged, given not only Star’s past record but the number of stories of black students and celebrities criticized for wearing the same hairstyles. 

Just in the past month, student DeAndre Arnold was suspended in Texas because his school claimed his dreadlocks “violated their dress code.” In response, the producers of the Oscar-winning short “Hair Love” brought Arnold as their guest to the Oscars.

The internet was outraged when the story broke, and reacted similarly when actress Zendaya was criticized by E! News host Guiliana Rancic for wearing dreads to the Oscars.

Rancic has since apologized for her harmful comments, but social media has not forgotten commentators who made such racist remarks.

Thus, why is it that when Jeffree Star creates and publishes an arguably offensive promotional photo, so little is said? Why is he excused?

One YouTuber, Jen Luvs Reviews, was one of the few who stood up and talked about it.

“Even if you don't get it, even if you think it's silly...If you KNOW that something you do is going to upset people of another culture, just DON'T DO IT. You don't HAVE to understand. You not understanding is irrelevant. You don't have to understand to be kind and respectful,” Luvs tweeted as a caption to the photo.

In a time where Twitter holds everyone accountable for even their oldest moments of ignorance, there is no excuse for Star to be maintaining his reputation and large following after years of proving he does not pay mind to valid criticisms against him regarding race and cultural appropriation.

 

vdamico@ramapo.edu

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